What I Did to Prep This Week

What I Did to Prep This Week – Week 34 – Mar 3rd – Mar 9th 2019

prep week 34

Hello Pack. I am hoping spring is finally going to show up. This constant on and off snow and rain and ever fluctuating temperatures is beyond frustrating – and also perfect cold weather. Days on the calendar keep ticking away toward spring, but warm weather and gardening season seem to still be quite elusive. I have seeds that are thriving and want to be relocated outdoors, but old man winter simply refused to go away.

Usually, spring brings flooding, and it likely will. But, it seems we have been under a flood watch since last October, so bracing for more of the same doesn’t seem as bad this year. We have spent hours graphing out our outdoor prepping plans and survival homestead improvements for the year, and I am just so anxious to get started on them.

On the bright side, the long winter has given us more time for intellectual or educational preps. Catching up on reading and trying out new home remedy mixtures and enhancing our tool skillset even further working on the garage – with salamander heated fueled up and running most days, was time well spent.

Our annual tree tapping has been underway for a while now, and showing good results so far. This year we added these maple tapping pouches to our supplies and really like them. They are far more durable than I thought they would be, which is a huge plus. The pouches attach onto the silver bar style hardware and prevent rain or debris from getting into the sap far better than any store-bought of homemade catchment system we have used in the past. We will definitely be purchasing more of them for next year.

We tap maple trees, but not only maple trees. My favorite non-maple tree to tap is birch. I love the sweet butterscotch taste of the syrup the sap from those trees, make. None of our trees offer as much sap or produce it so quickly as the maple, but they do create some tasty syrup.

I hit a meat sale at the Piggly Wiggly this week and scored some great deals. The Piggly Wiggly replaced another grocery store in the next county about a year ago, and ever since I always make a point of trying to hit their meat sale and stock up.

grocery store deals

The pork shoulder roast in my cast weighed about 10 pounds and I only paid about $9 for it. I also went back and got another one that was a little more than double the weight for $20. The big ham was only $7, so that was a great deal too. The cans of chicken were for me to dehydrate and combine them with some other solid ingredients to create a shelf stable soup or casserole mix.

My only other preps this week were working on Waldorf dolls for our youngest granddaughters. I have wanted to make them for two years but was intimidated by the soft sculpture and head making process. Every doll making blog goes on and on about how hard the heads are to make, and I found it not difficult to get them as hard as a rock and shaped properly – it takes an hour per head, but it is not too complicated a process for a novice to complete.

Waldorf doll

The doll skin fabric that I ordered was way too light, it looked nothing like the shade on the computer screen. But as you can tell from the dark smudges on this doll that is only a head and neck, the girls love them already.

The wig making process, the second intimidating part of these classic all natural dolls that had also scared me off, was not hard – it was actually quite fun. I made the yarn curly by wrapping it around dowels and pencil and soaking it in boiling water and then baking it on low heat in the oven, before turning the strands into a wig.

Auddie (3) and Ariyah (1 ½) helped with the process all the way through so far… except for the dang eyes which is the only part of making a Waldorf doll that has caused me to curse like a sailor so far. Each girl, with varying degrees of help, hand sewed on the wig, helped stitch the mouth, and took an active part in making their own toys.

I love natural toys for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is using the project to help teach the children educational and essential skills, like sewing.

This week’s questions:

1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why?

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 →

87 thoughts on “What I Did to Prep This Week – Week 34 – Mar 3rd – Mar 9th 2019

  1. I did my low-carb grocery shopping this week. Added a little to my stash. Cooked my weekly meals.

    Most of the junque for my crico kits have come in and I think I will start putting them together this weekend. I finally selected a laryngoscope and blades. They’re on order.

    I’m also going through all of my medical boxes and getting a good inventory. Then I think I’m going to move them into my spare bedroom. I need to go through my STOMP medical pack too and check things.

    I did buy a new battery pack/car jump start thingy. More powerful than my other one. I have a big 8-cylinder engine in my Caddy SUV (The Donkey would be mad at me, a peon with a gas guzzler) and the old jump starter had a tough time getting the juice in that it needed one time, then failed on a second time. I’ll probably give my old one to #1 daughter as she has to drive so much for military duties, and she is most likely to have the baby with her too. Her engine is smaller than mine.

    Had fun with granddaughter. She’s so loving and playful.

    Tara’s questions:

    #1 – Outdoor prepping project for spring? Probably nothing special living in an apartment.
    #2 – Tap trees? Nope, not here.
    #3 – $200 for prepping groceries? Probably get some more old-fashioned oats, beans, tuna. Whatever low carb, low fat, stuff I can get.

  2. First, the questions! (1) Outdoor prepping project for spring: I want to run a gutter along the east side of the main barn to catch the enormous amount of rainwater that keeps the goat porches way too wet. I want the rainwater to drain into a blue plastic 55-gallon drum that is up on a few concrete blocks and has a water spigot near the bottom. (2) I don’t tap trees, but I do grow sugar cane and cook down the syrup each winter. I average 8 gallons of cane syrup per year from my small patch. (3) $200 for prepping would probably go to more seeds, and permaculture items like avocado trees, peach trees, and a few more fig trees. As far as preps this week, I had twin does born in the barn this week, Ruth and Naomi are their names. Also got my tomatoes and green beans planted and started picking the first mulberries of the season. Ordered and received the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer, and ordered 4 more pairs of gardening gloves. I love this time of year….being in the deep south!

    1. I love my meat grinder attachment. It’s a real time saver compared to the hand crank grinder.

      Congratulations on the twins. My does look like they’re having multiples. I just hope they’re able to raise what they have, and I would like some doelings.

    2. Goatlover,

      I want the rainwater to drain into a blue plastic 55-gallon drum that is up on a few concrete blocks and has a water spigot near the bottom.

      You might want to look at other rain catchment systems that allow the first batch of water to be diverted away from the drum to eliminate the dirt and scat that will be in that first runoff until the roof is clean. There are simple ones that divert all of the water until another container like a 5 gallon bucket is filled, and tips the latch on the diverter.
      Your single 55 gallon drum may not be large enough, since one inch of rain per square (10×10 feet or 100 ft2 contain 62 gallons of water, so assuming your barn roof is larger than 10 x 10 feet, you will need to scale accordingly.

      I don’t tap trees, but I do grow sugar cane and cook down the syrup each winter. I average 8 gallons of cane syrup per year from my small patch.

      That would be nice. We’ve thought about sugar beets; but, they are more work for less juice, I think. So for now we’ll stick to honey & maple.

      Ordered and received the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer, and ordered 4 more pairs of gardening gloves.

      We have that attachment and use it all of the time. When we got our last beef, we kept some of the scrap that would have been ground into hamburger aside and had it packaged as stew beef. We thaw and grind that so we have freshly ground beef whenever we need it.

      I love this time of year….being in the deep south!

      Based on what you’re already planting and picking, no doubt, since those activities are all at least 7-9 weeks in our future.

    3. First time Saanen momma kidded today. She had one doeling and is taking care of her. Don’t you love kidding season?

  3. 1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
    I’m always excited to get my garden planted. I love getting my hands in the dirt.

    2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
    I haven’t yet, but it’s on my list of things to do…some day.

    3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why?
    Hmm. I would probably buy a few more cans of freeze dried foods…maybe more milk or shortening. Milk is needed when my goats are dry, and fat is always needed.

    This week:
    -Hit some huge sales and used coupons too. I REALLY stocked up on TP, dish soap, laundry detergent, kitchen wipes, and diapers for the grands.
    -Our beef will be ready for pick up next Saturday.
    -Getting closer to having (goat) kids. It always amazes me how big the does can get.
    -Puppy is getting big. He’s doing his job quite well. He’s already a good LGD.
    -It’s so wet here that I wonder if we’ll ever get to plant a garden. When this happens, I think we’ll wish we had this rain in the summer. Looking into a water collection system for us, the animals, and the garden.
    -I’m getting fit, again. I’m looking forward to retirement and leaving for a two week long camping/hiking trip on the first day of the next part of my life.

  4. Hi Tara & all,
    Still nothing except a cold rain here today; but, no flooding, at least on our property.

    Our annual tree tapping has been underway for a while now, and showing good results so far. This year we added these maple tapping pouches to our supplies and really like them.

    I have the ”Tap My Trees 7/16″ Aluminum Tree Tap and the hangers and bags to go with them; but, we’ve not yet tapped our trees, since the weather has not been cooperating just yet. The warm days following the cold ones have all been rainy like today; but, we’ll most likely get a few good days yet this month. We only have sugar maples and a few box elders; but, I wish we had birch, not only for tapping; but, for the fine bark that makes a great addition to a tinder bundle

    Your questions:
    1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
    Gravel for the driveway and a large pile of gravel base for the new outbuilding that replaces our old dilapidated brooder house that was torn down last summer AND several ham radio antenna projects.
    2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
    I have in the past; but, plan to tap yet this year, the sugar maples we planted as twigs in 1987. We will freeze concentrate the sap before heating and have been looking at reverse osmosis for next year.
    3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why?
    We would find some large chunks of meat, probably pork loin or shoulder for the smoker. We still have about 300 lbs of beef in the freezer; but, could use some nice pork.
    This week we acquired and did the following.
    1. The company that installed our furnace came by to check out the failure and fixed the problem. The plenum mechanical bi-metal high limit switch had died and was not resetting. Since it’s a 10 year parts warranty there was no cost; but, several very cold days without an operational furnace, that proved our alternate heating methods along with the new windows and insulation did the job. We didn’t even have to go to our backup wood heating source, so that layer is still there in a real pinch, like a long term power outage where propane is preserved for the generator. Another impromptu readiness test that we passed.
    2. Received a 2 Pack of Manuka Honey (500 gm / 1.1 lb) from woot.com. This honey is actually being kept for its medicinal qualities. While I have lots of local honey on hand, the active ingredient Methylglyoxal is thought to be responsible for antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Additionally, it has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues.
    3. 16 pack of AAA alkaline batteries
    4. 8 pack of paper towels
    5. 3 boxes facial tissues
    6. A 2 pound bag of oranges
    7. Ordered 2 Patriot Pantry 1-Week Food Supply Ammo Cans containing 42 meals with 1500+ calories per day & 25 year shelf life from woot.com.
    8. Received the new article announcement for “How to Rebuild, Repair, and Repurpose Post-SHTF” on Thursday; but, still did not receive one for this column.
    9. 5 bags of potato pearls, one of my favorite kinds of instant potatoes.

    1. TOP, why buy standard AA batteries when you can buy rechargeable ones that can be recharged 1000 to 1500 times? 4 rechargeable batteries would equal 4000 to 6000 batteries.

      1. Thor1,

        TOP, why buy standard AA batteries when you can buy rechargeable ones that can be recharged 1000 to 1500 times? 4 rechargeable batteries would equal 4000 to 6000 batteries.

        I couldn’t agree with you more. The DW did her standard inventory and they were getting low, so they were put on the list. She does this with everything from TP, to milk to keep the pantry topped off.
        We have since had a discussion and she now knows that at least for AA & AAA we have a stock of the Panasonic Eneloop batteries and several chargers. I also have the cases / holders to use the AA for C & D cells, and D cells for 6 Volt lantern batteries for the few things that still use the large batteries.
        We also have quite a few Panasonic and other brand NiMH batteries and the biggest challenge has now become keeping track of the several hundred batteries and their status: Charged and ready to use, Discharged and ready to charge, or somewhere in between. We would also like to run a FIFO on them to make sure all batteries get roughly the same number of charge / discharge cycles. I have a tester that on occasion I have to use on all of the loose batteries; but, a better method is hopefully being developed.

        1. TOP and Thor1,

          I have a mix of rechargeable and standard batteries. I tried to standardize with “D” cell and AA as much as possible, but some AAA had to be stocked too. Now I will have to get “C” cells for the laryngoscope handles. Oh well. They have handles that take AA batteries, but the larger diameter handles are better for working on adults, and the smaller diameter are better for kids. At least that’s how it works for me.

          1. Although they are new to me, there are adapters that take AA batteries to use in “C” cell devices. If you only need a couple, this might be a better option.

            I just this last month got some Eneloop sets. They had AAA and AA rechargable batteries, along with a USB charger and “C: and “D” cell adapters. Costco had them for under $30, Amazon’s is more.

            https://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-K-KJ17MC124A-eneloop-Adapters-Individual/dp/B00JHKSLLY/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1_sspa?keywords=eneloop+set&qid=1552229732&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull-spons&psc=1

          2. Zulu 3-6,

            I have a mix of rechargeable and standard batteries. I tried to standardize with “D” cell and AA as much as possible, but some AAA had to be stocked too. Now I will have to get “C” cells for the laryngoscope handles.

            You might instead look for the plastic sleeves that convert AA into D & D cells for that use. The AA, C, & D cells are essentially the same length @:
            • AA: 50.5 mm (1.94–1.99 in)
            • C: 50 mm (1.97 in)
            • D: 61.5 mm (2.42 inches)
            The spring contacts take up any of the small differences.
            Obviously the AA would not have the capacity of the C or D cells
            I also have a case that takes 6 D cell batteries and replaces a lantern battery.
            There are many ways to skin this cat.

  5. Tara’s questions:
    1. Getting the front and back gardens cleaned up. From the look of the Accuweather monthly calendar, yesterday was the last day we’ll have below-freezing daytime high temps. Warming to the 40s and low 50s over the next couple of weeks. Hoping the snow melts so I can get an early start on cleanup.

    2. Don’t tap trees, no maples or birches on our property. Wish I’d thought to plant some when we moved here in 2001.

    3. As Goatlover mentioned, I’d probably invest in some seeds and some food plants to put in the sunroom. We have a potted Meyer lemon tree that has ripe fruit on it – got to harvest tomorrow. I’d make that investment anyway, except I’m trying to cut down on the amount of stuff we need to move/store when we sell this house. Once we get set up in our retirement pied-a-terre, I can think about adding to the food-productive greenery.

    Not much else in the way of preps, it was a busy week at work, with another to follow next week. Ordered some freeze-dried veg soup mix and a couple of other things from Amazon. Took some down time today, hoping to get some housework done tomorrow while it’s snowing/sleeting/raining.

    1. MaineBrain:

      Have you checked Walmart.com for freeze dried foods. The prices for Augsason farms stuff is the best I’ve found, with free shipping for orders over $35.

      1. Thor1,

        that is something I haven’t tried to freeze dry yet, soup……

        Not here either; but, like water melon and other water laden foods, I suspect simmering the soup to thicken it until a lot of the water evaporates would be the first step.

      2. Bad verbiage on my part, it’s a dehydrated veggies mix that you can use for veg soup. This:

        https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0039QXWPM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        But Tammy Gangloff’s ‘Dehydrator Cookbook” does have a recipe for Camper Soup that uses condensed canned soup and cornstarch to make “soup leather.” Also a vegetable stock powder that starts with a puréed water-based veg stock. So I guess it can be done.

        JP, thanks for the tip on walmart.com. I try never to go to a Walmart store if I can help it (not to mention that our Walmart is at the other end of town but there’s a Target on the route from my home to my office, so if I need big box stuff, it’s more likely to be Target), but I’m not averse to shopping online if I can save a couple of bucks.

  6. 1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives? Find the ground in the yard, get out the misc broken concrete, level an area for my new bar-b-que.

    2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker. No trees in our yard.

    3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why? Our pantry of regular items is good to go. What I’d spend money on now is long term (freeze dried) cheese and meats.

    Started the month at a gun show! We actually did pretty well; sold some stuff we really didn’t need anymore (generating some extra cash), and only bought some Alpaca socks. We enjoyed a 3-day weekend with some like-minded people, even though it didn’t break 10 above zero. Bonus: while in town I found Federal 9mm FMJ Aluminum case for $6.44/50 (after sale/discounts/rebates)!

    Saturday was a Costco run and a movie (in the “big” city”).

    By Tuesday Montana had set new records for cold in March, at least in the southwestern part. -30 to -40+. Snow again on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday were in the high 20’s, but at least we got some solar melting from lots of sun..

    Received: Alpaca boot socks, pistol ammo, 22 LR ammo, Ladder feet (to fix broken ladder), MTM “range can” for 9mm & 223 mags, Kershaw Leek (replacement for lost EDC knife), Lee Carbide 44 Russian dies. Books: Mountain States Medical Plants, Foraging Wild Edible Plants of North America, Survivalist Family.

    1. JP…

      WOW…. How do you survive going in and out? Do you have to do something special to your vehicle to survive that cold of weather… I may have an interview up that way… ARGH!

      1. Almost There:

        Our vehicles are really nothing special. My van is 2WD (so right now it is parked) and only has problems maybe 5% of the year. DW has a Subaru and my pickup is a diesel 4WD. The only thing different they have is an engine block heater for when temps get down under -20. I use blue windshield washer fluid (+20) in the summer and purple (-32) in the summer to keep things simple. Keeping your vehicles fluids changed regular (oil @ 3 months; radiator checked every Fall, transmission in the Spring. Cold, dirty oil is hard on vehicle parts. Keep up with the brakes and tires (cheap tires are NOT a bargain).

        Personally, you adapt. Dressing in layers and take a jacket all the time. Water in the car all the time. We have a lot of miles between people.

        We definitely feel blessed. No housing problems with the extreme weather this year (even in a 100+ year old city house). Heat, water, and sewage are all working well. We keep up with the snow removal; a south facing house has been a blessing that we did by accident.

        Being a prepper, we have a contingency for most potential problems, but not all. But we never have the same problem twice; you learn or burn. Being a pair of old soldiers helps with that.

        1. JP,

          Hmmm… I have a Camry… No way would I make it through deep snow with that. It’s a snow plow. We’ll have to see how it goes. No interview set up yet, and if they don’t pay relocation expenses, it would be a no go. They had it in the posting that they will consider paying those, depending on the candidate.

          1. Almost There:

            Unless you live very rural, your Camry would do fine 95% of the time. Many years you would not have a problem. This year is kind of an old school exception. I don’t remember this much snow since ’96. It will usually snow then warm up and with the solar, melt off, then start again. Now if I had a second vehicle, it would be AWD/FWD, with a pickup make sure it’s limited slip. Like I siad, my main vehicle is a 2WD mini van, and this is the 1st time I’ve had to park it, because I could.

      2. Almost There,

        While Maine hasn’t suffered through the polar vortex temps that have hit the Midwest, we have had some cold days, because, you know, Maine. (Luckily, the AccuWeather long-term calendar says that today is our last day of daytime highs below 32 degrees. Looking at temps in the 50s later this week, woot!). We all own several coats and jackets – our 50 degree coat, our 40 degree coat, our 30 degree coat, and so on. The warmest coat I own at the moment is a Utex Design knee-length coat with attached hood. It has – hard to describe – half-inch fuzz on the inside that provides quite a lot of insulation. Don’t even remember where or when I bought it. Beyond that — layer, layer, layer. An undershirt of some sort, a turtleneck, a jacket or sweater. Heck, I even own three pairs of “Fame”- style leg warmers, which I use pretty regularly. Wool is very warm – I have a wool fisherman’s knit cardigan sweater that I bought in Scotland 20 years ago that has gotten a bit of a workout this winter. I scored three “gently used” Harris Tweed blazers for $20 at a flea market in London some years ago that were also very warm — they were made for the days when offices were heated by wood fires, no central heat. Can’t beat wool for warmth. Good luck with your interview!

        1. MB,

          Thanks. I also applied for one that I can work from home, so I could move anywhere if I wanted to. Still waiting to hear if I passed the eligibility criteria.

          I have lots of merino wool sweaters that I bought at GW and I really like them. I will wear them here to work sometimes because it can be drafty in the hallways. They don’t itch either. I have also found some cashmere and alpaca… I’ve found some sweaters from Italy, Australia, and Ireland, all quality stuff. All in the men’s section since they have more selection and sizes that fit me.

          I think I have those coats too. I have a couple of Ultex coats, both goose down, and they are warm. I bought them at Burlington Coat Factory many moons ago.

  7. 1: Spring… cleaning the garage and yard.
    2: I don’t have any such trees to tap. We have a little red Japanese Maple that was a sapling in the weeds when we moved here in 2011. Now it’s about eight feet tall. It’s coming with us when we move.
    3: I’ve got to agree with JP. $200 would buy a nice chunk of freeze dried foods.

    This week I picked up a few boxes of.357 magnum 125 gr. JHPs., 600 rounds of 5.56, and a few boxes of.22 LR. Couple of extra 1911 magazines in stainless.
    I also bought a lot of extra groceries. Peanut butter, tuna, crabmeat, sugar, etc.
    Added some silver dollars to the stash. I found some Morgans at a fair price. I also picked up some Franklin halves.
    Dealing with a territorial expansion at work. This is one of those good problems. I’ve also expanded our lines of work for our other client. Problem is, I’m funding it for the first thirty days. Still, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. Forgot to mention: as far as question one: seeing spring training is an important milestone for me. I know spring is coming soon and I guess it’s kind of a reboot or maybe a glimmer of hope. Shamrock shakes at the fine Scottish restaurant (McDonald’s) go with that too but I’m learning those are regional.

      1. Overwatch,

        I think we have those fine Scottish establishments here too… Are the shakes good? What is the flavor?

  8. Puppy likes to get in my chair when I leave the room. I have a snuggy over the chair and he gets fur on it from shedding. Then I sit in it and get fur on me, then sit in the Jeep and get fur on the seat. Either that or puppy is driving the Jeep while I sleep. LOL

    Bought water
    Bought a 4 pack of AA rechargeable batteries, a 4 pack of AAA rechargeable batteries and a 2 pack of 9 volt batteries.
    Bought 5 lbs of sirloin roast for $22. Mmmmm The Mrs. Will cook it tomorrow.

    Worked out more in the gym. My legs are feeling great with the weight loss and increase in muscle mass.
    Fixed the 12 disc CD changer in the trunk of the corvette.

    I will run the freeze dryer one more time and then clean the vacuum pump. Found out dear FIL has another vacuum pump at his house.

    I’m cooking dear FIL a beer brat and taking it to the rehab place. He loves those thing as he was in a hospital in Germany after being wounded in Vietnam during the war. Its not good for him, but it might bring his moral up.

    Interesting video:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=UtNTQAkhvzE

    Tara’s questions:
    1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
    2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
    3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why?

    1. Kayaking, fishing and camping ,when allowed.
    2. No I use Log cabin…..
    3. Seeds, rice and beans. Long term and growing more….

    Thor’s questions:

    1. Are you in shape enough to survive the coming Apocalypse ? If not are you trying to improve?
    2. How much food storage do you think is enough for the coming Apocalypse?
    3. What do you do for down time when not prepping?

    1. Oops, forgot, dear Mrs. ordered a weather tech mat for the cargo area on the Jeep as a present to me. Wasn’t that sweet.

      1. Thor1,
        The DW received a set of those mats for the new CRV at Christmas from the oldest boy. They fit everything except the cargo area, since there were too many styles and options of cargo space on that vehicle. The others however, all fit like a laser measured glove, LOL. Very nice..

    2. Thor1,

      Worked out more in the gym. My legs are feeling great with the weight loss and increase in muscle mass.

      My legs have almost always been great and weight hasn’t been a problem for years; but, that month in the hospital in 2015 still has me working to get my arm and hand strength back and that’s been a slower process than I had hoped.

      I will run the freeze dryer one more time and then clean the vacuum pump. Found out dear FIL has another vacuum pump at his house.

      That’s neat on the spare vacuum pump. We’re just now starting to run ours again and hoping to try some beef to see if a steak really rehydrates back to almost fresh. Have you tried this yet?

      On your interesting video, as a news junky I watched it live; but, somehow think that the other side is ignoring it all with their ears plugged. With all of the new socialists keeping leader Pelosi tamped down, I’m hoping they will rue the day in 2020, with both a Trump reelection and the Dems losing the house again.

      2. No I use Log cabin…..

      So you prefer:
      • Corn Syrup
      • High Fructose Corn Syrup
      • Water
      • Sugar Syrup
      • Pure Maple Syrup
      • Salt
      • Cellulose Gum
      • Sodium Hexametaphosphate
      • Caramel Color
      • Sodium Benzoate
      • Sorbic Acid
      • Invert Sugar
      • Natural And Artificial Flavor
      Over just Pure Maple Syrup? WOW.
      We only use the Pure Maple Syrup.

      On your questions:

      1. Are you in shape enough to survive the coming Apocalypse ? If not are you trying to improve?

      I am; but, we are always trying to improve. Trips to the wellness center and starting Tai Chi again soon. If however it is a true apocalypse lasting more than 5 years, my pacemaker battery and I would end together at that time.

      2. How much food storage do you think is enough for the coming Apocalypse?

      I don’t know that there will be an apocalypse; but, we could easily feed 4 adults for several years and never leave the house. The bags of potato pearls I received today (actually now yesterday) would feed me alone for several months with few additions, LOL

      3. What do you do for down time when not prepping?

      Listen to news, audio books, build electronic projects and write code to run them and test communications skills, or take additional comms or other training; but, I guess some of that would be considered prepping.

      1. TOP, log cabin has NO high fructose corn syrup now. Although I do have maple trees on my property. I use syrup only occasionally so in such low quantities its a mute point anyway.

        For leg exercises I use leg lifts, leg curls, exercise bike or real bike, treadmill, ankle weights and a stair stepper. I also have a pro-force leg stretcher for better kicking abilities.

        I have reconstituted freeze dried steak and have found it better to be already cooked versus raw. It takes less time to heat and eat. LOL

        For 3, is everything prepping ? If you shoot pool, you are practicing aiming skills, Kayaking, exercising, driving fast in a car, anti terrorist driving practice….. ECT. LOL

        1. Thor1,

          TOP, log cabin has NO high fructose corn syrup now. Although I do have maple trees on my property. I use syrup only occasionally so in such low quantities its a mute point anyway.

          Since we only use real maple syrup and don’t have any Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima syrup in the house, I just Googled “Log Cabin Syrup Ingredients” ; and that’s what popped up. While it could well be incorrect, I suspect there is still more than just boiled down maple sap in it.
          We use it a lot on French toast, pancakes, in cream of wheat and oatmeal and as part of a meat glaze. Cooked down until it’s nearly pure sugar, Maple Sugar Candy is one of my favorites, and I think shows us that god really loves us, LOL.

          For leg exercises I use leg lifts, leg curls, exercise bike or real bike, treadmill, ankle weights and a stair stepper. I also have a pro-force leg stretcher for better kicking abilities.

          I use squats, treadmill and real stairs since my office / man cave / laboratory / ham shack is upstairs and I run up and down those 14 steps a dozen or more times per day. Tai Chi also stretches them as does regular stretching before and after exercising. I used to be a long distance runner and in past years have hiked for days on end, so my legs were always better than my arms, which now need some additional work.

          I have reconstituted freeze dried steak and have found it better to be already cooked versus raw. It takes less time to heat and eat. LOL

          Good to know, since we haven’t tried that one yet.

          For 3, is everything prepping ? If you shoot pool, you are practicing aiming skills, Kayaking, exercising, driving fast in a car, anti terrorist driving practice….. ECT. LOL

          I was trying to answer the question for my non-prepping tasks and was I now realize, stretching it a bit. I’m in the middle of taking and retaking some of the FEMA ICS courses again and will be taking more training in April & May, so for some of us life is just one big prep.

          1. TOP,

            1. I knew you were one of the French toast people. LOL

            2. Long distance runner….Now we know your real name….Forest Gump….LOL

            3. Long ago I used to train by jumping up steps, try to get to the next highest step. I was then able to jump a 5 foot wall. Don’t try this at home, you might get hurt…LOL

            4. Tai Chi, I once saw a Tai Chi instructor get beat up by a mime…..LOL

          2. Thor1,
            1. I knew you were one of the French toast people. LOL/strong>
            Actually the
            “French Toast People” are those who run out to the store fir Bread Milk, and Eggs. We keep those on hand occasionally baking our own bread and running out for the eggs, only as far as the chicken coop.
            2. Long distance runner….Now we know your real name….Forest Gump….LOL
            Having never seen that movie I don’t get the context; but, I used to run 3-5 miles after work every day for years; but, that was 30-35 years ago and I’m a bit slower now.
            3. Long ago I used to train by jumping up steps, try to get to the next highest step. I was then able to jump a 5 foot wall. Don’t try this at home, you might get hurt…LOL
            I suspect we all did that jumping up the step thing at age 12-18 months when learning to walk. As for 5 foot walls, I can still clear them by jumping, but no longer over one in a single bound without pushing off the top with my hands.
            4. Tai Chi, I once saw a Tai Chi instructor get beat up by a mime…..LOL
            I don’t know any place that mimes and tai chi instructors hang out together; but, since tai chi is just a type of exercise, it would not surprise me. Tai Chi Chuan OTOH, well…

        2. Reply to Thor’s reply, item #4: re mimes: When DH was in the Navy, he blew out his knee and spent some time at the Oakland CA naval hospital. When he got ambulatory, he used to take his crutches and make the rounds of bars in San Fran that had free food at happy hour. Robin Williams got his start as a mime, busking on the streets of San Fran. One day, DH was trying to make his way from one bar to the next and passed through a group of people watching Robin do his thing. Hubby was intent on getting to the next feeding station, and Robin started marching behind him, mocking him. DH backed up and stuck his hobbled foot in Robin’s center region.

          [I understand, but Robin is one of my fave comedians – I never laugh as hard as when listening to one of his monologues.]

    3. Thor’s Questions:

      (1) YES, I am in shape!! WOO HOO. I’ve been eating right and exercising for over 3 years now, keeping my weight stable and my muscles toned. Strong core muscles are key to preventing back injuries with all the physical labor of farming. I feel great and wear smaller clothes than when I was in high school over 40 years ago..
      (2) After prepping for nearly 10 years, I’ve managed to develop an extensive food production system on my little farm. So, I’m only storing what I can’t grow and what has very long shelf life. I keep about 2,000 pounds of various grains in Mylar bags with O2 absorbers, packed inside five-gallon buckets that are kept in discreet climate controlled locations. Hundreds of pounds of beans, sugar, salt, etc…years and years worth of stuff. But, I take more comfort in knowing how much food I can grow and store. We eat fresh from the garden as much as possible, and I keep about 500 jars of home-canned stuff.
      (3) When not prepping, I do nursing home visitation and I make quilts, mostly to give to nursing home residents.

      1. Goatlover, you sound like you’ve got it going on. Congratulations !

        Do you drink goats milk? I heard it was really healthy.

        Making quilts, my dear Mom used to do that. When I helped her clean out her Attic, she had a frame up there and told me to throw it out. She said she couldn’t use it any more because of arthritis. She made one with 1 inch squares and then said she would never do that again. The rest of them were 3 inch squares. I now have the 1 inch square one…..

      2. Goatlover,

        I feel great and wear smaller clothes than when I was in high school over 40 years ago.

        High school is pushing 50 years for the DW & me; but, I think I’m also in that category of clothing size, although I’m not nor will I ever again be in that shape again. That’s just the facts of growing older.

        I keep about 2,000 pounds of various grains in Mylar bags with O2 absorbers, packed inside five-gallon buckets that are kept in discreet climate controlled locations. Hundreds of pounds of beans, sugar, salt, etc…years and years worth of stuff.

        While we have quite a few items packed in 5 gallon buckets (some with Gamma Seal Lids) as you do, a local friend who is LDS convinced us about 10 years ago, that buckets were less efficient than #10 cans, so we now have many cases of cans. The cost is a little bit more; but, the benefits outweigh the potential downside.
        1. If a container has a problem and you get bugs, mold, or other spoilage, you only lose a small amount. My friend had an entire bucket of wheat end up bug ridden at which time he switched to cans.
        2. When you open a container, the small amount is easily used in a short time, and doesn’t have to be resealed, using more O2 absorbers and having another chance at a bad seal and future spoilage.
        3. A can of a commodity is a known resource and can be bartered or gifted more easily than a helping of the bulk item from a bucket,
        4. Cases of cans or individual cans (6 per case) are easier to find storage space.
        5. A can with a lid when you are done, is a nice container for many other things, like vehicle candle heaters.

        But, I take more comfort in knowing how much food I can grow and store. We eat fresh from the garden as much as possible, and I keep about 500 jars of home-canned stuff.

        We do the same; but, it would seem that our growing season is a bit less than yours, so we have a few less cans of home canned food and perhaps a few more commercially canned foods. Assuming we get a dry enough spring to have a real garden this year, we should have the summer kitchen completed by next fall and be whole hog into canning, smoking, dehydrating, and freeze drying a hopefully big fall crop.

        (3) When not prepping, I do nursing home visitation and I make quilts, mostly to give to nursing home residents.

        While we don’t do much in the way of quilting, knitting, etc. my mom and sister did it big time mostly doing what they called “Crazy Quilts” sometimes I think called “Patchwork Quilts” made from fabric odds & ends (scraps) mostly of different sizes and generally not matching in color or pattern. We have a few of these “Waste Not, Want Not” quilts in a drawer somewhere, just in case we need them.

    4. Thor’s Questions:

      1. Are you in shape enough? No. I have some physical problems that would be very hard to surpass. I am very sad that I can’t do what I used to do physically when in the military and police. I am losing weight, now slowly, and I try to walk and ride my stationary bike as often as I can.

      2. How much food storage is enough? Well, technically, I suppose one can’t have too much. Right now, I estimate I have about six-months, maybe a little more. I could go into the rat breeding business like the POWs did in the book King Rat by Clavell. 🙂

      3. Down time when not prepping? Other than chasing granddaughter around, I like to read various things. Some about prepping and medical stuff, watch YouTube on medical stuff (or British military bands – the Royal Marines are the best). I don’t watch a lot of TV but in season I like to watch college football and NHL hockey. Like TOP, I am a news junky too.

      I like my Caddy Escalade. Bought it used three years ago. It’s a 2004 model and didn’t even have over 100,000 miles on it. In fact, it still doesn’t (close though). It was in great shape and still is (though I should take it in for a detail cleaning).

      1. Z36,

        1. Great assessment, a very wise man once told me, ” Focus on your weakness and you will have none”

        2. Yes that’s how I feel about food too. I have 4 pantries and 3 refrigerator/ freezers.

        3. I am also a news junky. But knowing what is going on is kinda a prep…..

        I wasn’t knocking your Caddy, I keep thinking about that movie Zombie Land… You don’t have a plow on it with a #3 on the door do you? LOL. But parts are expensive…..

      1. Ruh roh! Seems gov’ts getting more frantic to eliminate private ownership of certain “un-social” things. Beyond bad in the commie state of NJ and will be getting far worse in the very near future.

      2. 1. Graham is a flip flopper. One minute I like him the next I don’t.

        2. I didn’t have time to watch the video, but it sure is. It’s all in the plan to make us weak. Have a back-up plan.

        1. Almost There,
          1. Graham is a flip flopper. One minute I like him the next I don’t.
          Like him or not; but, never trust him
          2. I didn’t have time to watch the video, but it sure is. It’s all in the plan to make us weak. Have a back-up plan.
          My backup plan is locked in vaults and piled in boxes, with the will and ability to use them all up. They can have mine when they are all hot, dirty, and empty.

      3. Thor1,
        Articles of concern indeed.
        For me this falls under the ”Why am I not surprised” category, since Lindsey Graham like his late buddy John McCain has always been a shifty RINO.
        Like many of our elected overlords, “Semper Gumby” (Always Flexible) seems to be their M.O.
        The SHTF may be a coalition of the Dems and the RINO’s who are likely to fire the first; but, probably not the last shots with antics like these.

      4. I think so. I’ve been watching the sky more closely the last three years, and realize that when there’s a lot of chemtrails in the sky( and they are doing it more at night now, I notice) that about three days later, we get rain. This is East TN,we don’t need anymore stinking rain! If the fields are too wet to plow,we don’t eat! That’s diabolical!

        1. TOP,

          Yes, that too, unfortunately… I keep kittie brushed as much as I can, but there’s always more to get rid of and he can only take so much brushing. One time, I had to hire the girl that house sits for me to come and hold him while I went thru the knots…. She worked at a vet’s office and wasn’t fazed by his low growls… He hasn’t gotten like that since then, and I think it was just his younger coat finally shedding. I keep up with knots, but he got those really quick. He’s a long haired, very sweet and forgiving.

    5. Dog hair! Though our last Pooch, Daisy the Belgian Malinois Shepherd, went to doggie heaven 5 years ago, our washing machine in the stacked washer-and-dryer set in the bathroom next to the back bedrooms went belly up last week after 12 years, so we just had it replaced. When the delivery guys took out the old washer (which was on the bottom), there behind it was a pile of dog hair, from blankets, towels, toys, bedding etc., enough to stitch together another dog. I guess the dryer exhaust hose had a leak! The delivery guys did replace the old hose. I go through a vacuum bag now about once every three or four months, but when I was scooping up dog hair, it was once a month easily.

    6. 1. Are you in shape enough to survive the coming Apocalypse ? If not are you trying to improve?
      Probably not, but I’m better than most and getting better every day. I suppose it depends on what I will have to do. I’m able to do all of the work around here. I couldn’t run for miles on end, but I can wog (walk/jog) for a fair distance and run for a while if I have to.

      2. How much food storage do you think is enough for the coming Apocalypse?
      Just a little more. I have enough freeze dried food for about 6 months for my family of (almost) 14. I also have a lot of pantry items.

      3. What do you do for down time when not prepping?
      I’m a soon-to-be-retired teacher. I enjoy my homesteading, even though it’s part of my prepping. I also enjoy photography, cooking, reading, camping, hiking, kayaking, and hope to do more disaster relief work through my church after I retire. I don’t like when people are affected by natural disasters, but I’m glad I can help in their difficult times.

  9. Mt spring prepping is to get my new land in shape. Today I helped my brother fix the lift arm on our old tractor. I used the hydraulic ditch bank mower on it to trim the sides of his driveway and the drainage ditch in front of his property. The ditch bank mower mounts to the tractors three point hitch and the 5 ft mower deck is mounted on a bar to the right side of the tractor. The deck has a hydraulic cylinder that can pivot it 180 degrees, straight up to straight down. Just the thing for trimming the side of drainage ditches on a farm.

    I also trimmed the back area where the implements I need were parked 20 years ago. It going to take a chain saw and bush hook to clear away the trees and bushes that have grown up since then. I plan on getting the disc turn plow and using it to soften up and turn under the grass on my garden spot and the land i cleared last year. Then I can used the box blade to level everything off. After that I will use the turn plow to make mounds to plant fruit and nut trees and berry plants on the new ground.

    I will be using big equipment to farm 1 acre. Hopefully I will not get more started than I can keep up with.

    The only trees to tap around here are pine trees and all you would get is turpentine, which was a big business here 100 years ago up until the mid seventy’s.

    Unless something bad happens this year I will have a lot more then $200 for more preps. Hopefully we will not have $20,000 in medical bills this year. Also I have been paying $100 a month on the $10,000 school loan I took out for my daughter tech school. Next month is the last payment. Then if my son can get a better job I can save the $500 a month he is costing me each month. He better, he wants to get married next March.

    1. Daddio7,

      I will be using big equipment to farm 1 acre. Hopefully I will not get more started than I can keep up with.

      For me keeping the big equipment running has been the problem; but, we have enough neighbors who can use their big equipment for us, and generally large jobs do eventually get done.

      Unless something bad happens this year I will have a lot more then $200 for more preps. Hopefully we will not have $20,000 in medical bills this year

      It’s really the same here with the property paid off decades ago and 5 income streams, plus the ability to earn yet more on occasion.
      Our medical bills were incurred in 2015 when I had my stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) and spent time in neuro ICU and physical rehab. It helps that the medical providers are accepting monthly zero interest payments; but, they might otherwise force people into bankruptcy and then get nothing. While the hospital stay was expensive, the real culprit in all of our costs was of course that wonderful ”Obamacare”, AKA ”Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “ that like many congressional bills manages multiple lies in a single title.

      Also I have been paying $100 a month on the $10,000 school loan I took out for my daughter tech school. Next month is the last payment.

      We’ll be paying off the student loan for our DD for a while yet; but, she does have a good full time job with benefits and is finally off on her own. Her only problem from my perspective is living in the Boston area, where it takes several roommates splitting the bills to afford rent.

  10. Not much in the way of preps the past couple of weeks. Work has been insanely busy, down 2 ppl, training a new one, and working on what they call ‘successor planning’, which basically means I am being ‘groomed’ for a leadership position.

    I did pick up a couple of packs of pork cutlets cheap, I want to say around 1.29/lb. Froze them in packs of two, but in hindsight, I should have individually packaged them. They are large enough that DH and I can split one for a meal.

    We really need to invest in a smallish deep freeze. Right now, we are working with two refrigerator freezers. DH hasn’t ‘gotten’ my ‘system’ of what goes where (we’ve lived in the same house for over 12 years, and he STILL doesn’t put the dishes away right, LOL!) I did clean/reorganize one of the two, need to do the other.

    And we did get a nice surprise in the mail from TOP! He sent us a second key chain multi tool, so now we can have one on each set of keys!

    Getting ready to start my seeds, and have some questions for y’all:

    I have never grown onions. I would like a good multipurpose onion. Do you prefer to start from seed or sets?

    I also want to expand my herb growing. Do y’all prefer to start from seed or with starts? I could not get parsley to grow from seed for anything last year.

    Onto Tara’s questions:

    1) Can’t wait to play in the dirt! I need a new bed this year for my tomatoes, that is priority #1. The old bed will be home for beans, peas, cukes, herbs, and whatever else I decide to throw in there, since it had only tomatoes last year.

    2) While we have 2 old maples in our front yard, they are ant infested, and IDK that they would be very productive. I would like to learn about making maple syrup tho.

    3) I would probably spend half on freeze dried meat/cheese. The other half I would split between produce I could freeze/dehydrate myself, and staples.

    As for Thor’s questions:

    1) I am very not in shape. I have strength (I sling 50# boxes on a regular basis) but not endurance. I really need to quit smoking. That is the one thing I need to work on.

    2) Never enough!

    3) Our ‘guilty pleasure’ is the NASCAR Xfinity race at our ‘local’ track yearly, and if we can afford it, we try to get to at least one more race. And while it might be considered ‘prepping experience’, we try to camp when we can. Camping and gardening are multipurpose for me, they are relaxing and pleasurable, as well as being ‘prepping related’.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Grammyprepper,

      Not much in the way of preps the past couple of weeks. Work has been insanely busy, down 2 ppl, training a new one, and working on what they call ‘successor planning’, which basically means I am being ‘groomed’ for a leadership position.

      So is this a good thing? It often means more money; but, sometimes that money is far less than the responsibility it entails.

      We really need to invest in a smallish deep freeze. Right now, we are working with two refrigerator freezers. DH hasn’t ‘gotten’ my ‘system’ of what goes where (we’ve lived in the same house for over 12 years, and he STILL doesn’t put the dishes away right, LOL!) I did clean/reorganize one of the two, need to do the other.

      I don’t know if you recall seeing our chest freezer in the back room when we got your honey. If so, that’s a 16 ft3 model and contains half a beef (300+ pounds) and lots of other food. If you check out Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes, they have smaller models in the 3.5 & 7 ft3 range with some well under that $200 Tara wants us to spend. Wal-Mart also has a lay way plan and the others might also.

      And we did get a nice surprise in the mail from TOP! He sent us a second key chain multi tool, so now we can have one on each set of keys!

      That was supposed to also be in my pocket @ dinner and I can’t have you and the DH going to battle over a little trinket, as handy as it is, LOL.

      I have never grown onions. I would like a good multipurpose onion. Do you prefer to start from seed or sets?

      We have always had a good experience with sets; but, have never tried seeds.

      I also want to expand my herb growing. Do y’all prefer to start from seed or with starts? I could not get parsley to grow from seed for anything last year.

      We’ve been trying these from seed indoors and will try again as the wether gets better using the greenhouse. We’re still learning what we will use.
      The greenhouse BTW as small as it is, seems to be doing the job. Using a remote thermometer we can monitor the temperature and are seeing interesting results. In the dead of night, the temperature seems to be close to ambient, so 25° in and out; but, even on overcast days, the temperature rises significantly by late morning. One early afternoon a few days ago, the outside temperature was 25° and the GH temp was sitting @ a balmy 52°. Hopefully this spring and summer we’ll determine how to best utilize this thing, that sort of fall into the ”Be careful what you wish for” category.

      2) While we have 2 old maples in our front yard, they are ant infested, and IDK that they would be very productive. I would like to learn about making maple syrup tho.

      Most of my trees including the maples have tons of ants on them and you might be able to tap those two for a small batch run. We’ve been holding off, mostly due to the warm days following the cold ones, being especially rainy. As I type this, early Sunday morning, it’s pouring and I hear thunder. Imagine thunderstorms on March 10th with no doubt (and hopefully) more cold yet to come. Crapping cold damp weather and I get to lose an hour of sleep tonight.
      Once we do finally get to tap, we’ll freeze concentrate and refrigerate the sap until we can get setup for cooking it. If you want to see some real small batch production syrup making, we need to all meet up at the “Ottawa Bota Farm” in Radnor this fall.

      3) I would probably spend half on freeze dried meat/cheese. The other half I would split between produce I could freeze/dehydrate myself, and staples.

      That $200 would purchase a small chest freezer, or make a good dent in a slightly larger one. A chest freezer was one of the first large purchases when we were married, nearly 37 years ago, and we couldn’t imagine living without it.

    2. Grammyprepper,

      1. You have taken the first step in realizing your worst weakness, smoking, the question is not will you quit or not, it is will you get cancer? Stopping now would be best !!! Its very hard to do, I know because I used to smoke. I used nicorette gum and a fake cigarette which were nothing but filters.

      You have to realize you have 2 addictions, chemical and habit which is having a cigarette in your hand and mouth. I hope this helps.

      PS. When chewing nicorette gum, chew it 3 times then park it in your gums or it will hurt. You can do this multiple times.

    3. I prefer to start onions from sets and herbs from plants. We’ve had so much rain that we haven’t been able to get the garden tilled very early, and I don’t have enough space to start everything from seed inside. This gives me a head start on both of them.

  11. We have had a crazy month of odd weather too it’s been staying in the low 30’s and the high is around 45 degrees in the daytime, snow one day and rain the next day. I have gotten out and dumped all plants that have died, which is about all of them and cleaning out the pots putting the old soil, in my planting beds. Just waiting like everyone for warmer day’s to even think about planting. Replaced a battery in our Suburban, and got it running again wiped the inside out to keep mold from growing and wrecking the poor girl, her name is Rosie. Went and did some yard cleaning at our other place until it gets warmer just doing small stuff. I did do some cleaning and organizing, each room and going through all dresser drawers, I have two drawers to finish. Did some groceries shopping spent $35.00 at WinCo, and $19.00 at Safeway, I saved around $41.00 at Safeway using coupons and stacking them when I could. Finished with our accountant last week we won’t have to pay but will get less back because our daughter is over 18. We’ve been dealing with health issues with my mother in law, the family, finally took her away to a medical facility, we still don’t have a diagnosis on her yet and hubby’s family moved all her stuff to a storage unit so now she has no place to go to and until we get a diagnosis, we don’t know where to place her or if she can live on her own she’ll be 75 this spring. Hubby, is getting to a point where he’s about ready to get house plans summited, and put our house up for sale we can for a short time be in our camper, but it’s not a long term for 4 of us and our cat.

    Question 1 Hoping to get House plans drawn up.

    Question 2 No on tapping tree’s

    Question 3 $200.00 for me could go a long way. Look for more shelf stable foods, buy fruit in bulk and do extra canning, and vegetables dehydrate them.

  12. Hi Everyone,

    We had rain the week before, down to 16 degrees for a couple of days this week, then rain and tornadoes yesterday…. Today is halfway sunny and 55… Need to get out in the garage.

    Shed was delivered last Saturday, and with all the rain and cold, haven’t been able to do anything in there. I have some shelving to put up, and stuff in the garage and house to move out there, but have to be careful lifting anything for a a few more weeks. Was released from the surgeon on Wednesday. Healing well and all staples are out… Thank the Lord.

    Found some camping clearance items at WM, along with some hooks for the shed so I can put my implements out there. Found a few more items at GW like milk crates for canning jars that don’t have a box, a brand new OXO food strainer. Bought a few fuzzy blankets 1/2 price to take to the vet for the animals in the cages while they are there.

    Tried to hook up the propane heater last Sunday before the arctic blast, and there is a blockage somewhere in the line… Back to the drawing board. A friend’s husband is going to see if he can figure out what is wrong. It’s been moved around a bunch, so not sure if something has worked loose or not… The weather is cooperating at the moment, so that is good.

    Still organizing and will be listing some things on ebay and FB MP this evening. Still working on my taxes. Looks like since the standard deduction was doubled, that my mortgage interest, property taxes, and my donations won’t be enough to make a difference in the refund…

    Stocked up on Knor Pasta and rice sides, cat food, cat treats. Went to Ollie’s and bought some band aid type bandages, potting soil, hand soap, spices, 2 big containers of bay leaves, spaghetti sauce, large print KJV Bible (in case I don’t have glasses to read it with), an Amish Community cookbook.

    Also stocked up on some sirloin and ribeye steak.

    For Tara’s question:

    1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
    Get the new shed in order, getting my stuff out of the storage unit and brought home and possibly get the spot for the garden tilled up. I didn’t do any gardening last year. I have lots of seeds.

    2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
    No, and no. I have other things I am working on now. And since it’s only me, I wouldn’t use that much of it.

    3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why? I would get more FD meat, veggies, cheese, butter, eggs for long term storage. Think I need more than $200 though… Lol.

    Thor’s questions:

    1. Are you in shape enough to survive the coming Apocalypse ? If not are you trying to improve?
    Not at the moment. I can only concentrate working on one major thing at a time. Right now is getting rid of stuff and getting things organized. I am a member of some hiking and backpacking meetup groups, and there is a beginner backpacking trip next weekend, but I need to wait a little longer to heal up before attempting to start that kind of exercise.

    2. How much food storage do you think is enough for the coming Apocalypse?
    Who knows. Same as ammo I suppose, you can never have enough. But, what I want to be able to do is grow some things in case of radiation contamination, a variety, including sprouts, close to sustainable, except the meat part (would have to barter for it if I don’t have enough canned or stocked) and is why I have seeds and some new dirt. I want to get one of those tiered towers like Tara showed in one of her picture’s. You water it down the middle and it waters the entire tower. Would need to have multiple ones though and a more than a few bags of dirt.

    3. What do you do for down time when not prepping?
    What is down time??? Lol. Not sure that is possible in my current mind set. Seems everything I do nowadays is related to that somehow. Some things take more thought than physical energy… I guess I watch “The Bachelor” and “When Calls the Heart”. The Bachelor is done this week (I call it mindless TV), and When Calls the Heart has only a few left for the year. I like watching “The Voice” too.

    Prayers for the pack, those needing healing, the President, and America. It’s going to get rough very soon.

    I heard a song I really like…. and think the message is great… “Life is short…. Make it sweet”. It’s by Old Dominion… Should have known Shane McAnally was one of the writers… He writes the good stuff. 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ9L4PewTuY

    Have a great week everyone. Headed to the garage. Time’s a wasting.

      1. Thor1 & all,
        To answer the question in the video: “Are you prepared for the blackout” I would say “yes”. We could provide our own power for months at full operation and longer than that in austerity mode, which has already been tested numerous times.
        The only things left to accomplish would be some blackout curtains or materials for covering some of the windows and to bring some firewood into the house in cold weather; but, the later can be accomplished this upcoming summer.

        The answer to your question: “Is this a trial run by the dark state for the USA ???” is an emphatic NO.
        The “Dark State” or “Deep State” will not tear down the infrastructure that we all count on, including them, when they can simply loot the treasury and line their pockets.
        The blackouts in Venezuela are not the diavolical USA cutting their power to steal their oil and minerals; but, simply the result of poor maintenance of the infrastructure by the socialist dictatorship, which historically is always the end point of those regimes. North Korea & Cuba are perfect examples, as were / are large portions of the USSR / Russia.

        I find it interesting that the video narrator calls Juan Guaidó a puppet, even though he has been recognized as the interim president of Venezuela by dozens of countries including the United States and European Union member states, and including numerous Central and South American countries in the OAS (Organization of American States) who border that once wealthy socialist wasteland.
        He also makes the assertion that our defense infrastructure cannot operate without the internet; but, fails to understand the “other” internet, known as MILNET and then makes the assertion that in Middle America, “The conversation has ceased and people are no longer willing to talk to each other” and has become a hostile environment.
        His research has determined that after 8 hours of no power, we will see aggressive looting and fires. If I recall, some on this forum have mentioned having their power out for days, and they got along with no looting. How can this be?
        To the narrator, the assertion that Marco Rubio tweeted about the grid down in Venezuela before the Venezuelan officials knew about it, is somehow proof of a conspiracy, or could it be proof that our surveillance and communications infrastructure is fast and efficient. While not real-time like the Keyholes and Aquacades (previously called Rhyolite), any of us can look at a rather interesting birds eye view of our property on Google or with Google maps and street view.
        I had to laugh out loud when he mentioned the “The Pyramid of Preparedness”, like It was something he created. FEMA has used this phrase for a long time, and there is a good guides here: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1549-20490-4325/why_prepare.pdf
        I went through the steps to get his pdf & it’s quite honestly not as good as the one above from FEMA. Just the typical list of Food, Water, Shelter, Defense and power; but, at least at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be trying to sell me something. Since I had to supply an email address that could of course come later, LOL.
        He does BTW mention “fear’ numerous times in his presentation, to get the point across that we should all be scared into prepping and if that doesn’t work, there is that time tested bogy man, “The illuminati” who of course orchestrated “9/11”.

        I have worked with GPS systems since the early days, and this idiot also thinks that taking down the internet stops the GPS system from operating; but, I suspect the uneducated will believe

        I also have to wonder if Christopher Greene is the narrators real name, since Christopher was an American legislator and soldier who is best known for leading the spirited defense of Fort Mercer in the 1777 Battle of Red Bank, and for leading the African American 1st Rhode

        1. TOP,

          True, the Internet and GPS are completely separate systems, but the government could always change the encryption on the GPS so civilian receivers would be useless. Sort of a MILNET for GPS, if you will. Not that I think it is a realistic near term possibility, but if we get into a serious shooting match with some other country, it could easily happen as the military GPS is different from the civilian GPS. Many other countries rely on the civilian GPS as they do not have access to the military encryption. Some countries (China comes to mind) are building their own GPS network.

          In any event, the US military scaled back their manual land navigation training for a number of years, but now they are bring it back. Special Ops always kept up their manual landnav, but regular forces only worked the basics. I always used manual landnav as GPS was only just coming into semi-common use when I retired from the military.

          A big part of the power outage in Venezuela stems from the fact that the majority of their power comes from one big generation facility that is now shut down. Most of the skilled operators have flown the coop too. Restarting the generators is a tricky process that unskilled operators are screwing up causing sub-stations to blow-up and burn. Even if all the skilled operators came back to work today, there would still be serious issues because of damaged equipment, generators, and sub-stations. Things are REALLY going to get ugly in that country soon. But, socialism is sooooo great!

          1. Zulu 3-6,

            True, the Internet and GPS are completely separate systems, but the government could always change the encryption on the GPS so civilian receivers would be useless. Sort of a MILNET for GPS, if you will.

            There is no encryption per. se.; but, the current system does have what is called SA or ”Selective Availability” that was turned off by President Clinton, since DGPS made it all but useless. SA will add or subtract pseudo random values to the ephemeris data, making the position calculations of the earth stations off, by meters to miles, with the military stations knowing the correct position offsets; however, with the advent of cellular networks, DGPS (Differential GPS) was created, initially by the surveying industry. How it works is a GPS receiver is placed at a fixed known position, and when it calculates the position from the GPS satellite data, if it doesn’t match the known position, the difference (differential) is calculated and sent via the cellular network to the surveyors in the field, whose equipment makes the proper corrections. It’s basically making the original SA obsolete. It’s kind of a real world Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy kind of thing. LOL.

            Not that I think it is a realistic near term possibility, but if we get into a serious shooting match with some other country, it could easily happen as the military GPS is different from the civilian GPS. Many other countries rely on the civilian GPS as they do not have access to the military encryption.

            Only the signals are different since all use the same satellite constellation, with different data streams used for decoding.

            Some countries (China comes to mind) are building their own GPS network.

            The US has begun launching its new upgrade, more accurate GPS III” satellites starting back on December 23rd. The spacecraft, is called “Vespucci,” and was deployed into medium Earth orbit about 2 hours after liftoff by a Space-X Falcon rocket.
            Actually Russia already has asatellite system called GLONASS and you can purchase receivers for it or for both the US & Russian systems.
            China’s system is called BeiDou; but, I don’t know much about it.
            The EU has its Galileo program to launch another constellation of navigation satellites and I understand that the UK is also working on its own Sat Nav system.
            There is already so much space junk in orbit, I don’t see how NORAD keeps track; but, supposedly they do.

            In any event, the US military scaled back their manual land navigation training for a number of years, but now they are bring it back. Special Ops always kept up their manual landnav, but regular forces only worked the basics. I always used manual landnav as GPS was only just coming into semi-common use when I retired from the military.

            Land navigation is a good skill to have; but, unfortunately I don’t think too many civilians have a clue either. Prior to GPS I traveled all over this country with books of maps like the Road Atlas and the state Gazetteer, e.g. “Ohio Gazetteer”
            While we use a GPS in the vehicle, it’s a GPS device (Tom Tom), that contains the maps of all of north America in its memory, with lifetime updates every so often.
            Some use their smart phones with apps like Waze that don’t contain all of the needed maps, and downloads them in pieces when needed, assuming you are in a coverage area, meaning that no bars or no internet yields no maps.
            We still keep appropriate maps in the vehicles as a backup.
            Your take on the Venezuela power problem is spot on, and like the collective farms of the USSR, being run by party apparatchiks with no farming experience causing widespread starvation, I don’t see much of a future for Venezuela and hopefully its current regime. Even bringing those farmers back to the scorched fields of the USSR didn’t magically make food appear.

        2. When I stated:

          I went through the steps to get his pdf & it’s quite honestly not as good as the one above from FEMA. Just the typical list of Food, Water, Shelter, Defense and power; but, at least at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be trying to sell me something. Since I had to supply an email address that could of course come later, LOL.

          As it turns out:
          Downloading that generic preparedness guide from Thor’s video did end up trying to sell me something, since I left an email address. How about: “AMTV SHUTDOWN BOX – FAMILY BUNDLE – (240 SERVINGS of Emergency Food, Water Filter & Survival Kit)” for only $799.99. I think I’ll pass, since his scare tactics and even mentioning the illuminati wasn’t enough of a scare to justify spending that much for things I already have or can acquire for less money.

        3. TOP, eight days without power during the Ice Storm of 1998 and we saw and interacted with our next-door neighbor more during that week (+1 day) than in the rest of the four years we lived next door. The mindset was, we’re all in this together, it’s bad for everyone, let’s help one another when and where we can. There was no looting hereabouts that I know of. Venezuela is an extreme situation. Things have been bad there for so long – food shortages, gas shortages, money shortages, layoffs etc. – that people are at the end of their wits and patience. Before our ice storm, life was normal, and it went back to normal after the ice storm. Venezuela has been anything but normal for several years, so it’s no wonder a power outage would send people around the bend. Food, water, medicine, all in short supply. Not easy to watch your kids go hungry because you can’t cook what little food you can scrounge up because there’s no power. Yes, I know, build a fire – not so easily done in the concrete canyons of Caracas.

          1. MaineBrain,
            When you state:

            eight days without power during the Ice Storm of 1998 and we saw and interacted with our next-door neighbor more during that week (+1 day) than in the rest of the four years we lived next door. The mindset was, we’re all in this together, it’s bad for everyone, let’s help one another when and where we can. There was no looting hereabouts that I know of. Venezuela is an extreme situation. Things have been bad there for so long – food shortages, gas shortages, money shortages, layoffs etc. – that people are at the end of their wits and patience. Before our ice storm, life was normal, and it went back to normal after the ice storm. Venezuela has been anything but normal for several years, so it’s no wonder a power outage would send people around the bend. Food, water, medicine, all in short supply.

            I understand; but, the context of my statements were in response to the questions from the video that Thor posted, and not what I would deem a realistic situation, unless you think the guy in the video is credible; which I don’t. You will recall the question in the video was essentially: “Are you prepared for the blackout” and if we had a national grid down blackout, things like blackout curtains might be needed and rioting and looting could become real; but, those were answers to a hypothetical question, and not something I deem a real threat, at least in my location.
            As for our neighbor hood, the closest neighbor is about 200 yards and some of the farthest as much as 5 miles; but, I know most of them, and we often visit and help each other, since rural life can be hard work, and sharing the work and the bounty helps us all.

  13. Just returned from Turks & Caicos, where DSD was married on the 5th. I walked her down the aisle. She is beautiful, size 2, like a walking talking Barbie doll. Great time.

    I plan to first make the raised gardens higher, then plant. I have a significant amount of seasoned horse manure to mix with the added soil. Adding pecan tree to the orchard. Berming the soil higher and thicker around the root cellar.
    We have no trees to tap, except one ash.
    An extra $200 would go to more protein – FD meat. and perhaps more coconut oilll.
    Always working on my physical condition.

    Bought tuna – .50 per can, exp date on can 2/2023.

  14. I finished our taxes! Drum roll please.

    I am exhausted but I wanted to log on and report some research I have been doing. As you know, my dh and I have been on the keto diet for the past five weeks. We have both lost 11 lbs. I question everything. Bread has been such an important source of nutrients for thousands of years and yet bread has only recently been identified as “the” or “a” primary source of obesity???? I think the problem is not “bread” but modern highly processed, sugar laden bread-like substances.

    This week I aspire to open a can of LDS wheat, use my wheat grinder (which is still in the box–I have both the auto and the manual grinder) and actually make a loaf of sour dough bread–like people made bread 200 years ago. If anyone has done this before, please post your recipe for “real bread”.

    I suspect the problem is not bread; the problem is crap-processed-bread-like-substances.

    1. Bam Bam,

      I finished our taxes! Drum roll please.

      I’ll be doing ours this week; but, with no mortgage interest and the $24K standard deduction, this year will be rather easy and we may even get a small refund.

      I question everything. Bread has been such an important source of nutrients for thousands of years and yet bread has only recently been identified as “the” or “a” primary source of obesity???? I think the problem is not “bread” but modern highly processed, sugar laden bread-like substances.

      That “modern” processed bread has been around for at least 60 years, since we had the same thing when I was a kid with very little obesity. We have to realize that modern humans have been around for somewhere between 50-100 thousand years, and those early modern humans were not unlike us from a physical and metabolic perspective. The biggest difference I have gleaned from my classes and other reading is that their hunter gatherer lifestyle set us up for obesity unless we have will power. They lived on forage and what they could hunt or fish, until about 20,000 years ago, when early agriculture started making a difference. Prior to that, when they had food, especially high calorie foods like fats or sugars, they gorged on it and layered on fat to be sustained through the lean times. Those who didn’t eat those fats and sugars would often perish in those lean times, so that genetic predisposition of liking, even craving fats and sweets became part of human nature. Even in the 50’s & 60’s when I was a kid, many of the people I knew worked hard for a living, in the steel mills, mines, and factories, where physical exercise was part of the job. When you went home you watch the news on one of the few channels your TV could receive, and changing channels meant getting up, walking to the TV and turning the dial.
      After school, Kids went outside to play and did not sit around watching TV or playing video games, eating cheap snacks and getting fat.
      While we have the same cravings as our ancestors, fats and sweets to them were treats and not something cheap and readily available like they are now. Growing up if we had desert with a meal, it was quite often fruits like peaches, applesauce, or fruit cocktail and real treats like ice cream were rather rare.
      Back in 2006 I managed to drop 60 pounds in 6 months (235-175) by simply limiting my calories and moving more and now by managing cravings and watching my portion size, I maintain my weight in the 150 pound range.

      This week I aspire to open a can of LDS wheat, use my wheat grinder (which is still in the box–I have both the auto and the manual grinder) and actually make a loaf of sour dough bread–like people made bread 200 years ago. If anyone has done this before, please post your recipe for “real bread”.

      What grain mill do you have? We have a Victorio large hopper, a Wonder mill Junior, and a Blendtec Kitchen Mill. The first two are manual mills that take a lot of work; but, work without power; but, the Blendtec is really amazing and can make all kinds of coarseness of flour.
      We’ve done this; but, with sourdough it’s been quite a while, since keeping a sourdough starter alive is another job we gave up on and just use yeast.
      My go to bread book is the “Bread Bakers Recipe Collection” Revised 1/14/05; and their website breadbakers.com appears to be gone. But, I suspect there are many good recipes available with a simple search.

      I suspect the problem is not bread; the problem is crap-processed-bread-like-substances.

      I don’t know of any substance in bread that would be crap or make you fat. For instance, here are the ingredients in Wonder bread:
      • Wheat flour
      • Water
      • High fructose corn syrup (or sugar
      • Yeast
      • Soybean oil
      • Barley malt
      • Wheat gluten
      • Salt
      You could use whole wheat, replace the sugar with honey, and use a different oil; but, the actual caloric content would not change much, with the nutrition and fiber content only improving slightly.
      Being fat is simply described by the “1st law of thermodynamics”, also known as the ”Law of Conservation of Energy”, that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system, only changed in form.
      Calories into the system must be used, normally changed to heat or stored, which the body quite willingly does as fat.
      Since An average woman needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week and an average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week, the math is rather easy. By keeping my intake back in 2006 to around 1500-1800 calories per day, I started shedding pounds without much effort; but, if your are sitting around playing games or watching TV while eating snacks, the calories have no place else to go, since even that little 1 oz bag of Doritos adds 150 calories, assuming you only eat one and a 20 oz bottle of Coke or other soda can easily add another 240, so a snack between meals can easily hit almost400 calories and another late night another 400 on top of 2 meals that are probably also too calorie ridden.
      So far today I had a blueberry muffin (280) and a glass of 2% milk (120) for breakfast yielding only 500 calories total and lasted me until I had lunch as I was typing this around 2:00. For lunch I had a bowl of mashed potatoes (LDS potato pearls) @ 150 calories with a hot dog (Hebrew National) cut up and mixed in (another 100 calories) for a total of 750 for the day so far. Tonight I’ll have some chicken breasts that are marinating in the fridge and some kind of vegetable and probably some sherbet for a late night snack, still keeping me under the 1500-1800 mark I’ve grown used to.
      As a general rule, limiting calorie intake is usually more efficient than exercise for weight loss. For instance, on average: here’s what it takes to burn off 100 calories with values estimated based on a person weighing 140 lbs.
      • Walking (3mph) 27 minutes
      • Running (6mph) 10 minutes
      • Bicycling (10mph) 14 minutes
      So 40 minutes of running or 56 minutes of bicycling could be eliminated by skipping that small bag of Doritos and that 20 oz Coke.
      Don’t get me wrong, exercise is important to at least keep you loose, and moving, as well as for cardio health; but, for weight loss, what and how much you eat is the important thing.

      1. OP, I gave up on trying to control calories years ago! When I decided to lose weight, I simply reduced carbs to 90mg/day and the weight came off – from 215 to 190 in less than a year. This also allowed me to eat way more carbs one day per week – kind of a “cheat” day and all the protein I wanted. It was not far from an Atkins diet. Part of my problem was hidden carbs, in salad dressing for one example and prepared foods for another. I also largely replaced sugars of all types with stevia. Now, I am holding steady at 180, which is about right on my 6’2″ frame. Anyway, I say, “whatever works for the individual”! DW does the calorie thing, without the fast results I experienced and my honorary Black child does the same, with about the same results as DW.

        1. Billy T,

          I gave up on trying to control calories years ago! When I decided to lose weight, I simply reduced carbs to 90mg/day and the weight came off – from 215 to 190 in less than a year. This also allowed me to eat way more carbs one day per week – kind of a “cheat” day and all the protein I wanted. It was not far from an Atkins diet.

          I was doing well on the Atkins diet, losing weight and watching my Ketones with the strips, which allowed me to have those few extra carbs when I was deep into ketosis; but, then I was put on Coumadin (Warfarin) for my AFib and I could never reach ketosis again, even when I did a full day water fast although you could smell the ketones on my breath. It appeared that the Warfarin was interacting / interfering with the action of the Ketostrips.
          That’s when I purchased a gram weight kitchen scale and started keeping track of calories, losing those 60 pounds in about 3 months.

          Part of my problem was hidden carbs, in salad dressing for one example and prepared foods for another.

          You just have to read the labels, since even MacDonald’s. Wendy’s, etc. publish their nutrition information. You do however have to be fastidious and count every calorie, which I did and accounted for in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet allowed me to have those snacks if at the end of the day I was still short of my 1200-1500 calorie limit. As you stated, you do what works for you, and in my case I am lucky that I not only like or tolerate any food, I have no allergies or sensitivities, so I can eat a wide variety of foods.

          I also largely replaced sugars of all types with stevia. Now, I am holding steady at 180, which is about right on my 6’2″ frame.

          I use some sugar; but, I’m usually happy with just plain ice water or various juices. I’ll also use aspartame or Splenda in things like tea (I don’t drink coffee) and so far I’ve not grown any cancers or an extra eye
          Being 6’ 2″ must be nice, since at 5’ 6” I’ve never been overweight, just undertall, LOL.

  15. I couldn’t agree with you more. I also have the cases / holders to use the AA for C & D cells, and D cells for 6 Volt lantern batteries for the few things that still use the large batteries. Charged and ready to use, Discharged and ready to charge, or somewhere in between.

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