What I Did to Prep This Week

WHAT I DID TO PREP THIS WEEK – WEEK 25 – DEC 16TH – DEC 22nd 2018

prep week 25

Dan’s Note: sorry everyone, I completely forgot Tara sent this one last week…

Well, it has been another week of dealing with rain and mud here on our survival homestead. The weather for the past year and a half has been unreal. The only good thing to come out of it is the massive learning experience from a gardening and livestock perspective.

We had only two seasons this year, summer and winter – then back again. The impact the long and unseasonably cold and wet winter which stretched dang near up to May, had on starting plants and getting the garden ready.

Thinking we were golden after finally getting plants in the garden and cleaning up the mess from keeping them inside so long was decidedly short-lived. Next came the intense heat and humidity that lasted all summer – with hardly any rain at all.

Usually we get far too many wild blackberries than our tribe could ever pick and preserve. This year I didn’t even get enough to make more than two jars of jam. Our young fruit trees barely made it through the summer season alive. Our apple crop was decidedly low and we didn’t get a single peach this year.

After the long hot summer, we had maybe a week of typical fall temperatures, and then the rains came back heavily – along with winter like temperatures. The ridiculous weather also wreaked havoc on the hay fields. The yields around the region (tri-state area, really) low and many folks only getting two and not three cuts.

We did not get enough hay to put up for the winter because of the rain and had to buy about 10 round bales. The farmer down the road the road we bought from before we had our own second hand baling equipment, didn’t have any left to sell long before the usual hay hunting time of year.

Because of the weather, he was 70 bales short this year, and a man from Kentucky drove all the way up here to buy him out and pre-pay by the end of July. We also tried one of Bobby’s fellow firefighters who bales square to get some more to put up. A man from out of state also bought him out, as well. As bad as the weather was here, it was apparently worse in both Kentucky and West Virginia. It was almost impossible to find enough days in a row when it did not rain to cut and rake the hay to dry it before baling.

We finally found some extra bales but the quality is not something I am happy with and am worrying it was not dried enough and won’t be safe for horse consumption much longer. Because last winter seemed to go on forever, the grass in our pastures came back extremely late, causing us to go through a lot more hay than normal. The year prior, our various herds were out in the pasture feeding themselves by February.

This weird weather pattern caused extra expense, time, and stress – things we can deal with now, but would not be able to during a SHTF long-term disaster.

So, it was a learning year on our survival homesteading retreat. Once we get past Christmas, we will be devoting a lot of energy into putting up a larger greenhouse with a drip water irrigation system, growing more dwarf fruit trees, and maybe even putting in a walipini. Our evolving plans will aim to increase our growing output as much as is feasible regardless of how long winter wants to last or how intense the sun can get in the summer.

Until then, in between finishing homemade Christmas presents – including self-reliance themed ones for non-prepping loved ones, we will be buying more gravel to put on our washing out curby ½ dirt driveway, fixing T-posts that are getting wobbly from all the soft mud that surrounds them, and dragging our roads so it at least remains passable by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

This week’s questions:

  1. How has the weather impacted your crop growing and livestock husbandry this year?
  2. What are your thoughts on growing in a walipini?
  3. What prepping plans will you be working on during the winter months in preparation for the coming growing and outdoor work seasons?
  4. What did you o to prep this week?

Tara Dodrill

About Tara Dodrill

Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, 'Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out', Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.
View all posts by Tara Dodrill →

49 thoughts on “WHAT I DID TO PREP THIS WEEK – WEEK 25 – DEC 16TH – DEC 22nd 2018

  1. 1) Oh my yes. We had our truck stuck down at the land for two weeks because the ground is sodden. 4WD doesn’t work so well when the ground is like mousse. WE finally called a guy to come yank us out of the hole we had dug ourselves in. And with more rain coming in, getting out to the cows is problematic.
    2) I’ve never tried a walipini.
    3) Prepping plans… expanding my garden and using more containers. Our IGR fly control minerals come in large black pots, great for growing things.
    4) Prep this week? Ha! Got over the stomach flu. Nasty virus! Both kids and their husbands– and the grandson came down with it. We bought some new shelving for the pantry. And making plans for kicking up the prepping a bit.

    1. an old rule of thumb in the northeast is that 4wd doesnt get you unstuck, it gets you stuck worse. 2 or 4wd i tend to keep a 2 ton comealong and 100 feet or more worth of tow straps and tie down cables in my truck, i have tied off on trees on the other side of the road or field and winched myself out many times. also used the straps to skid logs behind the truck a few times

      1. I have had dodge powerwagons for years and the rule of thumb is to engauge 4 wheel before you need it and have the right tires. I run mud and snow tires and never had a mishap. They might not work in arizona or in deep mud but that is not what I am into. I am not a crawler .

  2. How has the weather impacted your crop growing and livestock husbandry this year?
    We, too, went from summer to winter. The mud is getting old. The animals and I are tired of it.

    What are your thoughts on growing in a walipini?
    I’ve never heard of it.

    What prepping plans will you be working on during the winter months in preparation for the coming growing and outdoor work seasons?
    I’m researching seeds and growing methods, ordered and received garden seeds, and preparing garden beds. We’re also making plans to improve our farm ground.

    What did you do to prep this week?

    -Added to the stockpile, including: Rx and OTC meds, food, spices, and other items.

    -We’re planning on growing pumpkins on our farm. Research and starting small are in the works. We’re also looking into improving the hay fields. We have decisions to make.

    -Goats appear to be bred, one with at least triplets. I can’t wait to get goats milk in the spring.

    -Chickens are laying well, and I picked up two more egg customers. It’s not much, but it helps to pay the feed bills.

    -I ordered and received most of the seeds I’ll be planting next year. Seed catalogs make me happy!

    -I have prepped more meals. This comes in handy on busy days and during power outages. I also have food ready when someone is sick or has a baby.

    -I’m trying to plant seeds of self-sufficiency in others. I believe a poor economic situation coming, and most aren’t prepared. I feel fortunate to be debt-free and have savings. The average person doesn’t want to sacrifice anything now to plan for their future. I know people who buy Christmas presents on credit and don’t pay it off until the next Christmas. They’re setting themselves up for failure. I can’t imagine how they’re going to do when things get bad.

    Be prepared. Stay safe. He’s in charge.

    1. Well, now I want a walipini! I’ve been wanting a greenhouse for a long time, but this may be the better route. I can’t wait to see if anyone has any actual experience with them, not what they’ve heard or read about them. I want first-hand experience.

      By the way, is anyone else creeped out by the teeth whitening video that’s right beside the comments section?

      1. Prepared Grammy,

        Well, now I want a walipini! I’ve been wanting a greenhouse for a long time, but this may be the better route.

        I had never heard of a walipini; but, do know people who were successful with some earth-bermed greenhouses, since they get a natural cooling and heating from the virtually constant temperature of the earth. These were part of an underground house owned by some friends. The main problem unless you have a hillside in which to build, is that they can be very damp. For our purposes, we constructed a 6x8x6 greenhouse purchased from Harbor Freight, on sale with a coupon for $200.00. The treated lumber for the base was about an additional $50.00. Now we’re just trying to determine the best way to utilize it.

        By the way, is anyone else creeped out by the teeth whitening video that’s right beside the comments section?

        Absolutely!!!! On top of that the animation takes away cycles from my old Core-2 Duo Vista machine and slows other things down.

        1. For sites I like I allow ads but the animated tooth whitening was too much. Ublock enabled and blessed white space to the right of my screen. I do a lot of web surfing and two years ago my dual core machine ground to a halt. I got a good deal on a i5 quad core machine with 16 Gigs of memory, oh boy, back in business. $500 well spent.

          1. Daddio7,

            For sites I like I allow ads but the animated tooth whitening was too much. Ublock enabled and blessed white space to the right of my screen. I do a lot of web surfing and two years ago my dual core machine ground to a halt. I got a good deal on a i5 quad core machine with 16 Gigs of memory, oh boy, back in business. $500 well spent.

            My dual core (2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4 GB DRAM) machine is still running OK after some cleanup. We recently purchased a Core I5 machine for the DW; but, it is running Windows 10, so still learning to use it.
            I have a Core I7 machine that was running Windows 7 quite well and was configured with everything I wanted and needed on it, and a while back one of the upgrade offers was to go to Windows 10. I checked with friends who said that 10 is stable so I allowed the upgrade; but, it pooched in mid installation and could not be recovered. It turns out I had a Wi-Fi card installed and Win 10 got hung up there. I ended up removing the card and successfully re-installing Win 7 from scratch. All of the data was on the second Solid State drive, so all I had to do was reinstall some applications and try to get the thing configured like I want it.
            For non graphical applications I really prefer Linux and have several of those machines on the network for doing real programming or work.
            All of the machines and printers in the house are wired for better speed and security, so I really didn’t need that Wi-Fi card anyway and it had just been part of the machine when I purchased it.

    2. if your chickens are all the same breed or can be seperated and have both hens and roosters you can sell eggs as hatching eggs. i got $1 an egg this spring and summer for buff orpington hatching eggs, a few hobbyists were buying them and hatching them as groups of 36 in a little incubator, they came back every month for more.

      also my buffs had a few broodies and i sold the chicks $3 each (some i kept as well, butchered the roosters and added the hens to the flock), my pullets sold $10 each in a livestock auction.

      my bantams didn’t get such demand, nobody wanted the hatching eggs, and i got all of $5 for a dozen of them at auction (i think the buyer just wanted the wooden box they were in).

      anyway what i am suggesting is a market to make more on your eggs if you have them seperated by breed and the breed is in demand

      1. Nemoseto, That’s something I had been considering, but I wasn’t sure if there was a market for it. It sounds like I should pursue it. Thanks!

  3. Hi gang,

    Night shadows on again this evening. Will be interesting to see the news is.

    How has the weather impacted your crop growing and livestock husbandry this year? Didn’t plant a garden, nor have any livestock.
    What are your thoughts on growing in a walipini? Had to look up a walipini. Won’t be using one of those around here.
    What prepping plans will you be working on during the winter months in preparation for the coming growing and outdoor work seasons? No preps. Getting the stuff in the freezer canned up.
    What did you to to prep this week?

    Not much. Spent more time organizing stuff. Burned a bunch of paper in my burn barrel. Was glad to be off from work for 4 days straight. Contemplating getting a storage unit, rent to own, 10’x 20′ so I can organize my stuff better. Found a great company that makes well built units, but still checking things out. Delayed moving out of my storage unit until mid January so I can figure it out. Put my cast iron bathtub for sale… It’s taking up prime real estate in the garage.

    Extra prayers for the President that he holds his ground on this border wall. I am sure there are plenty of farmers that own land along the border would gladly give up some land so a wall could be put up and keep the invaders out. Congress should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be. Their used to getting a paycheck for doing absolutely nothing… Americans seriously need to revolt. Pure scum they are.

    1. Additional preps:

      Bought this solar battery charger. It’s brother approved and got it for $59 instead of $89 but checking out the “NEW” link below the description… Score…. Also bought some rechargeable batteries in AA and AAA. I didn’t have any of these items yet and I was able to use a long lost $25 ecard for something related to my healthcare plan that I was able to choose an Amazon egift card with … I found it as I went through the mound of paper. Must have been at least a couple years old. I also cashed in my rewards for the Pine Cone research survey’s that I do for a virtual visa that was also applied to the purchase. It’s not much, but it adds up..

      https://www.amazon.com/ENERGIZER-PowerKeep-Portable-rechargeable-batteries/dp/B075WS9QPQ/

      Spent today working in the garage. It’s shaping up, and will be taking donation stuff on Monday to get one last credit for this year.

      Someone in my meetup group works for a garbage place and told me he had 7 propane tanks that people had thrown away, and he got them out. He’s giving me 4 of them. I will take them and trade them in for full tanks, uping my total tank count to 7. Still haven’t found the connectors and regulator to the propane heater. May just go buy another set… One is none and two is one, right? 🙂

      Putting a few more things on FB Marketplace or ebay this weekend. I have 5 unopened cans of Maxwell House coffee from 1972 WITH the coffee still in it… Wonder if it’s still good?

      Happy New Year everyone!!!!

      1. Sure, I don’t see why not. Sounds like you are BUSY! Our mutual friend’s brother died Christmas Eve, so her hubby and I ran the deli while she travelled out of state for the funeral. Also made 80 pies. I was beat. Hugs to you and Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Tara & all,
    We had no real spring either, and for the first year in a long time, 2018 had no garden of any type, and that really felt odd. We did however purchase some local produce @ our farm market & auction, and were gifted lots of fresh vegetables by neighbors and relatives. We did have the same heat and humidity; but, the rain seemingly never stopped, setting records with 42 inches falling at our location between 1/22/18 & 12/28/18 with virtually no snow this year.
    We are the same with blackberries and didn’t have more than enough to pick and eat a few at a time, with our mulberry crop also almost nonexistent. We were able to purchase 2 large square bales of hay; but, since we only feed a miniature horse and a goat, that was plenty. Our neighbor, who sells us the hay cheap, ended up taking some of the damp hay and wrapping it in heavy plastic where it will become silage for his dairy herd. He has a special machine to do that, and attachments for the skid loader to move the large bales of hay and silage around.

    Now for the quiz:
    How has the weather impacted your crop growing and livestock husbandry this year?
    The livestock were not affected much, except for the hens molting, which I think they would have done in any case; but, they are done and we are back to full egg production.
    What are your thoughts on growing in a walipini?
    First I had to look up the term, and I think you have a better location for one than we do. Being an earth-bermed greenhouse we would have to dig a hole and keep out the water. For those unfamiliar with Ohio, Tara lives in the south of the state where it starts to resemble the Appalachian region of western PA and Kentucky, and where there are actual hills. Where I live in the north central, it’s not as flat as clear up north near the lake; but, there are no real hills on the property here, so we’re using a small conventional greenhouse; but, still trying to determine the best way to employ it.
    What prepping plans will you be working on during the winter months in preparation for the coming growing and outdoor work seasons?
    We have a good collection of seeds and plan to use the greenhouse to start them while keeping our fingers crossed that they can be transplanted in the spring. This past spring, things were so wet, the only viable plant would have been rice, except it gets too cold for that crop.

    What did you o to prep this week?
    ‘o’?

    This past week we did and acquired the following:
    1. Ordered our first batch of Christmas gifts online. Thanks to Amazon Prime and other websites we get the kids exactly what they want and they do the same for us. Like most adults, we have most of what we need, and this just makes it easier.
    2. Trip to the local computer store for a few more gifts plus a few more items for us:
    • 256GB USB 3.0 FLASH DRIVE
    • 16GB MICRO SDHC
    3. Purchased a spiral sliced ham on sale from Aldi’s
    4. Received 100 feet of RG8X coaxial cable terminated with UHF (PL-259) connectors and a “Blitz Bug” style lightning arrester. This will allow me to use the “Hy-Gain 14AVQ” trap vertical antennas I just acquired to run a second HF radio.
    5. Four dozen blueberry muffins from Aldi’s. These are every bit as good as the ones Tim Horton used to sell before they played with their recipe, and have become one of my favorite snacks.
    6. Three 40 pound bags of plain softener salt from TSC
    7. Received Christmas Gifts:
    • Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable processor
    • Atari Flashback® 9 GOLD classic game console with built-in 120 games and 2 wireless controllers. These games include iconic Atari 2600 classics like Missile Command™, & Asteroids®, Centipede™
    • Numerous boxes of my favorite chocolate covered cherries. We don’t ever have enough to last until the next Christmas; but, we keep trying, LOL.
    • Weathertech Floor Mats for the new Honda that will likely be our last ”New” vehicle. These should help things stay clean and not allow dirt or rocks to erode the floor panels.
    8. We experienced a small and somewhat insignificant utility failure that made use of some of my equipment and skills. On the day after Christmas the DW mentioned that we seemed to have no Wi-Fi; but, as it turned out the Wi-Fi was fine; however, the DSL internet connection had a problem. I didn’t get a chance to investgate until early evening, and found that the DSL modem showed a connection to the DSLAM in the local Telco office; but, the internet light on the box never turned green, instead staying a blinking red.
    • I placed a general call on my radio to our local group and had two others experiencing the same problem. This is where having multiple alternate means of communications comes in handy. My internet connection is back up and running and I was able to find the following information about the interruption.
    https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/nationwide-centurylink-outage-affecting-colorado
    • Note from the article:
    o Some ATM machines weren’t working in Idaho and Montana.
    o In Arizona, some police agencies said 911 systems crashed temporarily or had intermittent problems. They were directing people with emergencies to call other numbers.
    • If you are just counting on your cell phone or internet connection, you might want to rethink the subject
    9. If prepping includes learning something for the future, we had another unforeseen prep. My DD flew home for Christmas and on the way back she was 5 minutes late for the check-in for the flight back to Boston. They said it was basically too bad and they could do nothing about it, including a later flight or partial refund. The DW & DD then went to the Delta counter and they were very accommodating and got her onto a flight that afternoon. United has just ensured that they will get no further business from us. Lesson learned.

    1. TOP, did you not just unplug your router to reset your Wi-Fi… I had it happen here too.

      Power flickered here today, it popped a GFI but there was no lightning at the time, only rain.

      1. Thor1,

        TOP, did you not just unplug your router to reset your Wi-Fi… I had it happen here too.

        I did power cycle the DSL modem / Router / Wi-Fi Access Point and then watched the LED indicators as they sequenced through the connections. The modem retrained and made the connection from the modem to the DSLAM (Digital subscriber line access multiplexer) in the local central office; but, the next step where the Internet LED turns from red to green never occurred. That‘s when I talked to local friends on the radio who were having the same problem and found out about the big Centurylink outage. Centurylink BTW is my landline carrier. Once I heard my friends were back up, I cycled power again and things were working great. I currently have 6.0 Mbps down and 450Kbps up.

        Power flickered here today, it popped a GFI but there was no lightning at the time, only rain.

        It doesn’t take a full on visible lightning strike. Even a small leader can generate enough ground bounce, for the GFCI to “see” a fault. Assuming it’s a typical “Class A” device (residential bathroom, kitchen, and garage) it only takes 5 milliamperes (0.005 amps) for 10 milliseconds (0.01 seconds) to trip. It could also have been a lightning strike on a line beyond your visible horizon temporarily affecting the entire network / grid with a transient.

  5. Puppy woke me up barking at something on the roof. I thought it might be a big squirrel so I opened the back door. Now puppy can catch a Frisbee pretty good but what he caught flying in the air I wasn’t ready for and neither was he. He latched on to a red bag that was full of toys and treats just as the vehicle was pulling away. Puppy fell but did not lose his grip on the bag. I ran over to make sure he was alright and heard someone say Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. We brought the bag in the house to see what was in it…….

    1 a Henry repeater in 44 magnum…
    2 two 5.56 saw ammo cans
    3 rechargeable AA batteries
    4 Herb jars with labels and shaker lids
    5 new shoes in size 12
    6 tennis balls for puppy’s ball gun
    7 puppy treats, lots of them he is a good puppy

    Tara’s questions:

    1.How has the weather impacted your crop growing and livestock husbandry this year?
    2.What are your thoughts on growing in a walipini?
    3.What prepping plans will you be working on during the winter months in preparation for the coming growing and outdoor work seasons?

    1. Something’s grew better than others but the poor plumb trees, got tons of flowers only to be blown off by a huge windstorm. Then the leaves fell off early in the season and started regrowing right before the first frost.

    2. Could be good in a colder climate, but with all the rain it might flood.

    3. Starting plants, I have a second avocado tree growing. Yay !!!

    My questions:

    1 With the outages of communications, ATMs, reports of EAS being sent to phones and the transformer blowing up in NY are we closer to a grid down scenario ?

    2 With Iran firing rockets off the bow of one of our aircraft carriers, are we close to war with Iran?

    3 Will the Democrats OK to build the wall to protect our country from diseases, illegal aliens that make our taxes go up to support them, drug trafficking and child sex trafficking after a police officer was gunned down for pulling over an illegal who was deported for drunk driving and was doing it again ?

    1. Not to sound like Z36 but, #1 daughter came over for Christmas with her spouse and #1 grandson. Took him to see Santa, pony ride and a train ride. He loved it. Son in law showed off his Santa toy of a large drone with camera and he got a 3D printer.

      #2 daughter came over and we had shrimp and crab for dinner. Mmmmm
      #2 son still lives here and will soon be 21.

      I just gave money too all…cash is king….

      Farther in law was in rehab after a stroke and while he was in there, some low life stole his coat. What kinda person steals a disabled veterans of 2 foreign wars coat on Christmas. Grinch !!! Very angry !!!

      1. Thor1,

        I always thought the Chinese had the right idea numbering their sons and daughters like that. Easier to remember than names. Handy to use when you don’t want to use names.

        Hope the rotten SOB that took your FIL’s coat bursts into flames.

        1. Z36, I guess the Chinese got that one right.

          That makes you think, if someone would do that to a DV that’s in a wheelchair on Christmas, what would they do when SHTF. Karma has a way of finding them like the movie final destination.

    2. Thor1,
      I think you and puppy must be sharing dreams with tennis balls and puppy treats mixed up with rifles and batteries.

      1 With the outages of communications, ATMs, reports of EAS being sent to phones and the transformer blowing up in NY are we closer to a grid down scenario

      No. Transformers arc over and blow up all of the time, since working with voltages from 7,200 to 765,000 (locally) or the 138,000 in NYC almost always do catastrophic things. Had that same type and voltage transformer gone off in the middle of a Kansas prairie, other than those without power, no one would have noticed or reported it. In NYC it made a fireworks show and all of the media covered it, because NYC is well, important, you know, LOL.
      That communication outage was part of the Centurylink backbone and had me down for about 14 hours; but, having worked in that industry for 1/3 of my career, I find it amazing that it is as reliable as it is, since computers and people monitor and maintain those systems 24/365

      2 With Iran firing rockets off the bow of one of our aircraft carriers, are we close to war with Iran?

      I hope not for the sake of the Iranian people; but, with Trump in charge of helping with the ROE I suspect it would be short and devastating.

      3 Will the Democrats OK to build the wall to protect our country from diseases, illegal aliens that make our taxes go up to support them, drug trafficking and child sex trafficking after a police officer was gunned down for pulling over an illegal who was deported for drunk driving and was doing it again ?

      Of course not. It’s not about the wall or border security any more. It’s about resisting the guy who dared beat queen Hillary and deny her, her entitled seat in the Oval office.

      1. TOP, the security cameras caught the footage, I’m going to be richer…..LOL

        I’ve seen a transformer at a substation blow up and it looked like a nuke went off mushroom cloud and all.

        Maybe Clark Griswold got his Christmas lights working in NY…..LOL

  6. I did my low-carb grocery shopping this week. Added a little to my stash.

    Not much prep specific stuff done this week.

    I didn’t have granddaughter this week.

    I went over to #1 daughter’s house on Christmas Day for a light luncheon and gave them my gifts. The whole family is meeting at my Ex’s house on the 29th for supper and to finish exchanging gifts. Granddaughter got a red owl mask from her daddy’s brother and the girl refuses to take it off except to eat and sleep. She’s cute as all get-out in it.

    I did get the white tac light for my M&P-15. Got it attached, no problem. Looks and works nice. 900 lumen light. I also got some extra CR-123 batteries for the white lights on both my rifle and shotgun.

    I ordered some more fractional silver, 1/10-oz rounds. Not a whole lot.

    My doctor cleared me to workout on my stationary bike (it’s an electronic version). However, the power supply was broken somehow, and I had to order a new one. It’s up and running fine. Now I just have to figure out when I can pedal my fat butt around on granddaughter days.

    I’ve been keeping an eye on world events. I’m not pleased with Trump’s idea to pull troops out of Syria. We’ve got ISIS on the run and need to keep the pressure on. We don’t have that many troops there, mostly SpecOps, artillery, and aviation. Supporting the Kurds is important too as they will fight terrorists (although Turkey, Iraq, and Iran all consider Kurds to be terrorists). Friends in the SpecOps community like working with the Kurds. I hate to see Mattis leave as SecDef. But I guess you can bang your head on a wall for only so long before it gets tiresome. The troops really like him.

    Exploding transformers. Let me count the numbers I’ve seen. Nope-can’t remember them all. They’re a pain in the butt to city cops and firefighters because they draw crowds like moths to a flame. Most of the people in those crowds have crap for brains and no concept on how dangerous live wires can be. I’m still amazed none got killed on my watch as a cop, though I did work one as a paramedic (didn’t make it).

    Tara’s Questions:
    1. Weather affecting growing: No effect on me. I haven’t grown an inch in years. 😊
    2. Growing in a walipini: I didn’t know what this was. Google is handy though. A type of greenhouse. No, I haven’t considered this as I have no place for one.
    3. What will I be doing to prep for growing season ahead: Nothing as I have no place to farm.

    1. Z36, I see Santa brought you gun stuff and batteries too….LOL

      I think part of the reason Mattis left was he didn’t have a WALL to bang his head on.

      My opinion on the withdraw of troops in Syria is that Trump doesn’t want to sacrifice American lives for a gas pipeline from Qatar to the EU. The EU is dependent on Russia now for natural gas and Syria said no to the pipeline because they are allies to Russia. The Fed raised interest rates in a tantrum to this because the Rothschild’s control the Fed and are English. Get it.

      Are the troops being brought home for other reasons ?

      1. Thor1,

        The EU is dependent on Russia now for natural gas and Syria said no to the pipeline because they are allies to Russia.

        I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Hopefully we’ll be able to get contracts in place and start shipping LNG to the E.U. or at least to the U.K. The E.U. was stupid for inking that contrat for “cheap” Russian gas, and they may now pay the price. OTOH, it might be a great way for them to “actually” start cutting greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions instead of complaining about us not doing it.

        The Fed raised interest rates in a tantrum to this because the Rothschild’s control the Fed and are English. Get it.

        I don’t think Tantrums were involved, just the FOMC trying to fix the problems brought on by Bernanke and Yellen making all of that free money available. And the Rothschild’s were not British, they were German Jews.

          1. Thor1,

            TOP, I stand corrected on their origin. But they run the English bank and pretty much all banks. This explains soooo much.

            That was an interesting and from my knowledge of history, a somewhat fair and accurate presentation; but, it misses one other factor that needs to be taken into account. The Christian Church prohibited usury while the Jewish faith did not, and even though the protestant reformation had occurred some 200 years prior to the Rothschild’s started banking, usury laws kept the money supply very tight, since the Christian church wielded money & politics with the best of them. For clarification ”Christian” in the context of the time was the Roman Catholic (universal) Church and ”usury” meant charging interest at any rate, where the modern definition would be interest at unreasonably high rates.
            Someone who had money to loan would generally not loan it to anyone other than friends or business partners if they could make a better return on their own business and the usury laws pretty mush saw to that until banks could rent their assets and make a profit.

      2. Thor1,

        The lack of a wall is a good possibility why Mattis is leaving.

        I doubt the troops are being brought home for any nefarious reasons. First off, we’re not talking that many troops. The majority are special forces and special operations people, some artillery (Army, I believe right now. There were Marine gun bunnies there at one time), some infantry to defend the artillery bases, and some aviation, mostly helos. The fixed wing assets are mostly carrier based or Iraqi based. I don’t know if the Turks are letting US aircraft operate out of Incurlik right now.

        1. Zulu 3-6,

          The fixed wing assets are mostly carrier based or Iraqi based. I don’t know if the Turks are letting US aircraft operate out of Incurlik right now.

          In your opinion, have the Turks ever been real, trustworthy allies? Back during the Gulf war in 1990 they caused us a bunch of grief by not letting us deploy the 4th Infantry Division from their territory. They are NATO allies, right?

          1. At one time, the Turks were wonderful, trustworthy allies. Not so during the last 20 years. Multiple reasons, but basically, the country is now islamist and becoming more so every day. I was there during the early 70s, while the country was very secular. Every time a radical took over, the Turkish generals would stage a coup and return the country to Ataturk principles. The last effort was too late and the old generals weren’t strong enough.

        2. Billy T,

          At one time, the Turks were wonderful, trustworthy allies. Not so during the last 20 years. Multiple reasons, but basically, the country is now islamist and becoming more so every day.

          That’s kind of what I thought; but, wondered if there were other reasons.

          I was there during the early 70s, while the country was very secular. Every time a radical took over, the Turkish generals would stage a coup and return the country to Ataturk principles. The last effort was too late and the old generals weren’t strong enough.

          I had almost forgotten about Atatürk and the age of Kemalism in Turkey; but, that was mostly all before my time. He was quite a guy. I keep a document with quotations from famous or very smart people and once you mentioned him, I looked and found an appropriate few on this subject:
          Peace at home, peace in the world.” Ronald Reagan?
          “Science is the only true guide in life.” Definitely not islamist.
          “Sovereignty is not given, it is taken.” Build the wall? LOL
          My biggest concern in the region is how the Kurds get squeezed and screwed again. From what I understand they are tough fighting trustworthy allies, who have been screwed by the west since Yalta when they were allowed to be absorbed by Iran, and now are split and in bad situations with Iran, Turkey, and Iraq. I know they are tribal; but, wonder how it is they keep getting left out of the peace and prosperity.

          1. My uncle was Turkish, and both his father and grandfather knew and worked for Ataturk. My uncle wouldn’t recognize the country if he saw it today. He came to the US as a young student, majored in political science while becoming naturalized, and got a Bachelors, Masters, then a PHd and traveled back and forth between Ankara and Lubbock Texas documenting the changes that were taking place in Turkey. He was a pol sic professor at Texas Tech University. His sister still lives in Ankara. She’s in her 80’s.

          2. Babycatcher,
            My uncle was Turkish, and both his father and grandfather knew and worked for Ataturk. My uncle wouldn’t recognize the country if he saw it today. He came to the US as a young student, majored in political science while becoming naturalized, and got a Bachelors, Masters, then a PHd and traveled back and forth between Ankara and Lubbock Texas
            Ankara, Turkey and Lubbock Texas would be quite a contrast at any time I suspect. I have to admit that when I think of Turkey I often think of one of the two scariest movies I’ve ever seen, the 1978 “Midnight Express”. That still makes me shudder when I think of it.

  7. We had a gender reveal at Christmas dinner. It’s a girl. My granddaughter will arrive in April. I am so excited. This is our first grandchild. I think she will be spoiled.

    I have been restocking the short-term pantry. I hadn’t really been grocery shopping in six weeks. I’ve got everything stocked up except cases of water. There’s only so many cases of water one can put in the car.

    We have had warm muggy weather here in Florida. It is in the 70s and still muggy. I am worried that we won’t get enough cold weather to kill off the mosquitoes. That’s it for me.

    1. Bam Bam, Congratulations on the grandbaby! We had a gender reveal too. Our granddaughter is due in April also! This is grandchild number six, but we’re just as excited as we were for the first one.

      1. Prepared Grammy,

        Bam Bam, Congratulations on the grandbaby! We had a gender reveal too. Our granddaughter is due in April also!

        Personally I think April is a great month for birthdays. By the time the little one is up and moving it’s generally warm enough to get some outside air. I was born on April 13th (and a Friday, LOL). Our kids range from boys 52 & 48 and a girl who will be 28 in less than a month; but, no grandbabies in sight.
        Congratulations to both of you.

  8. WOW, that’s awful Tara, I hope 2019 is a better year for hay, and plants.
    Up here in the Northwest, we are battling with wind storm one after the other with a day or two of calm in between the storms. I brought my Herb’s in the house, most made it and are growing back.

    I haven’t really gone grocery shopping, we have been using my pantry up a friend, of ours brought over three bags of groceries, they left on a trip so that was great to use up their stuff tho I lost a roast, they should have froze it and when I looked at it I knew it was going to be in the food recycling bin I hate loosing nice meat like that.

    Another good friend brought some frozen piggy steaks for us because we stopped and got some Booze, when we came back from California in November, it’s way cheaper there then here.

    I’m so glad another Christmas, is behind us and looking forward to a great New Year.

    Question 1-3 because we live on a small lot not much farming just growing in buckets, or flower pots. We did get a great crop of Raspberries, I have a garbage can I use for extra water in the summer, last three years we have had drought conditions and having an extra 22 gallon of water, helps us for sure. I make sure I put bleach in it and after I use my canner I take the hot water and dump it in too and it helps kill any bugs that try and make it home.

    My hot house, has taken a beating the last two year’s I’m not sure what I’ll do with it or if I can find a new plastic tent to replace it with this is the time to look…

  9. We’re on the road so we report for 2 weeks next time. Reading others posts. It’s been so cold the snow from well before Chritmas is still with us, then a few more flakes. Usually it will warm up above freezing but not for the last couple of weeks. And I’ve got guns that need to go “bang”!

  10. 1 weather was not my problem, the soil was still too acidic and most of my crops failed as a result (used to be pine plantation and plowed around the stumps). i thought i added enough calcium and lime but i was wrong, dumped out huge amounts of manuer and compost before snow fell and i will add more calcuim and lime in the spring before i plow it up again. cattle didn’t have any trouble, some late hatched chicks froze because the hens were not warming them in the mornings, won’t let them hatch any after june next year.

    never tried it

    just running a trapline canning meat, rendering fat and tanning furs, might work on the sugar shack to get it ready by spring, or put off till next year, have 100 tapping size maples, buckets taps barrels and an evaporator, need a pan though. if i do anything else it will be cutting logs to mill and maybe some firewood and fence posts.

    not much, walked a lot, 20 miles a day, found roadkill i carried home, skinned, tanned, and fed the left overs to my barn cats (i have a heated shack to work hides in), sold $50 worth of firewood, walked 20 miles to town and carried home 30 lbs of supplies (bagels, creamcheese, broccoli, caluflour, sour cream, cheese, etc). did some misc improvements around the cabin.

  11. Rain took away all the snow a couple of days before Christmas, so it was a brown holiday in Maine. We did get a couple of inches of white stuff yesterday, not enough for the plow man to come but enough to make the ground white again.

    Not much for gardening this year, a couple of tomato plants in pots which didn’t do well. Not planning anything for 2019, as we’re planning to put the house on the market in the spring. All the tea leaves I’m reading suggest a recession in 2020, so it’s time. Real estate is still strong in Maine, thank goodness.

    Walipini looks interesting, might look into it for our new digs. My sister in southern Maine has extensive gardens. This year she got an old second-hand bookcase, had her husband put legs on it, filled it with dirt and used it for a “raised bed.” I will consider doing something similar for the new digs, as on-my-knees gardening just doesn’t agree with a bad back.

    Not much for preps due to the holiday. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.

  12. Hi Everyone, I hope you had a great Christmas with family and friends. We had a really good Christmas day with the grandkids and our sons and daughter. We all cooked together and the kids helped me, and I told them this was like a Hallmark movie LOL. I got practical gifts for everyone, such as pjs (I always give pjs for Christmas) for all the kids and grandkids. I got the sons Carhart jacket, hat and gloves; workboots for one, electric toothbrush for the other. I got one son who lives in another state a compact survival kit with multi-tools, paracord, compass, etc. He played with it all day and thought it was his best present.

    I got the granddaughters some clothes and some toys for the toy room I have converted to a Princess Room, with a new princess tent, baby dolls and table and chairs. I bought a canvas picture at At Home that says, “I love you to the moon and back” that my granddaughters always say to me. The room is pink overload, but since I had all sons and never had a daughter I am enjoying it as much as them.

    My 14yr old grandson who is Type I diabetic got the biggest present. We got him a PS-4 with the game of Spiderman. I got it online on Black Friday and he cried when he opened the present. I know it is electronic and expensive, but he has been through so much I wanted to give him a gift that he has been wanting for several years. He has stayed at our house all week and we can’t hardly get him off that thing!

    A few weeks ago he said that when he fell unconscious from DKA (diabetic ketoasodosis) he wished he was never found so he could have died. He said he woke up to pain (needles) and a life that has changed. It has been very hard for him. I talked to him about getting an insulin pump and electronic glucose monitor and he brightened up a little. There are pros and cons, but the doctor said he could get these after February when he has been diabetic for 6 months. It did cheer him up to be able to not take 5 shots plus 5 blood checks every day.

    I apologize for talking about this so much, but we are new to this and just trying to move ahead and get used to the new normal.

    1. Good luck with it, Terra. My niece is Type 1 and has gone through a few decades of adjustment. She now has a pump, which makes life so much easier. I hope your grandson can graduate to it.

  13. Great Christmas celebration on Christmas eve with the whole family. Had our customary large Cinnabons for Christmas breakfast. Made several quarts of turkey frame soup from the remains of the 20 pound turkey. Discarded two year old storage yeast and replaced with new. Took the grandsons out for marksmanship training.

    1. Billy T,

      Had our customary large Cinnabons for Christmas breakfast.

      That sounds amazing and now I’m hungry for Cinnabons. LOL

      Made several quarts of turkey frame soup from the remains of the 20 pound turkey.

      turkey frame soup? I like the new description, since we would simply call it a carcass.

      Took the grandsons out for marksmanship training.

      Good for you; but, here it was cold and raining. I guess putting up with the AZ heat has it’s perks, LOL.

    2. Billy T,

      Was your yeast stored in the freezer? I have some stored in the freezer and was wondering if it will go bad. If so, I need to replace mine too.

      Glad you had a great Christmas, and Happy, Healthy New Year to you and yours.

  14. Greetings everyone! This post might be a bit long but I wanted to share my experience of the past few days. Then I will answer the questions.
    I have been in Central Florida since mid-December so not much prepping. I did have a discussion with my Dad-retired military- what could happen with Mattis gone. His concerns are for the younger generations as he feels he has had a life fully lived. This discussion took place after celebrating # 2 son’s 30th birthday. A birthday we were told he would never reach. Both men have very realistic outlooks on what would happen if faced with societal anarchy. After my travel back home my thinking is they are correct.
    I chose to fly from a very small airport, the town has less than 30,000 inhabitants. A plane slightly bigger than a puddle jumper flies in and out twice a day to one of the larger airports in the country. From there I can switch planes and fly to Florida. The advantage to this airport is a less than four hour drive to catch a flight and Free Parking.
    Disadvantage is an economy of scale- the airport does not have the funding for some of the runway clearing apparatus, so cancelled flights are not uncommon.
    Christmas Day brought weather problems to the big airport so flights to the little airport were cancelled. Christmas night brought bad weather to the little airport. Very bad- between 1 and 2 inches of ice cover the runway.
    But everyone felt the runway would be o.k. for Saturday flights. So I left for the Orlando airport at 5 a.m. and things were busy. Just a few grumbles in the security lines. My flight left on time and I made my way over to the connecting gate as soon as I landed. Just in time to learn the flight was cancelled. So I immediately booked a standby spot and started weighing my options.
    The car rentals were not allowing any more one way drives to the little airport- a seven plus hour drive if traffic isn’t heavy. The flights for the little airport were fully booked until New Year’s Eve. My check of the weather showed more bad weather moving into the region so I opted not to extend my trip by staying with a cousin. My decision was to see if I made it onto the late flight and if not take the last flight of the day to a regional airport in between that would result in a four hour drive. One way rentals were being allowed from that area.

    The attitude of the stranded passengers was not good. Several who had been sleeping at the airport since Wednesday were downright hostile. They did not understand a cancelled flight meant you were out of luck. Stand by was your only choice unless you had first class tickets or could pay additional out of pocket.

    There were no businessmen in the group. They did not wait to see if they could go standby. They immediately booked for alternative airports. Mostly elderly and those from lower socioeconomic households that were still around. The evening flight loaded. But because there was baggage from multiple cancelled flights the plane was not allowed to take a full passenger load. It needed to fly with 9 empty seats.

    The response of the crowd at the gate was volatile. Especially since some of the standby passengers would have made the flight. So to shorten this saga- I am now totally convinced that things could get very bad under certain circumstances.
    I was fortunate and my Plan B worked. Very fortunate since once I arrived back at the little airport yesterday I discovered the loaded plane never made it off the runway but circled around and deplaned. As of this time there are still no flights in or out. Always have a back-up plan.

    For the questions: My garden was amazing this year! The walipini looks interesting and probably could work here. I have bought some seeds and hoping some garden supports go on sale. No preps this year but DH was able to utilize the pantry during the nasty weather.

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