What I Did to Prep This Week

What I did To Prep This Week: Week 5

prep week 5

This week on our survival homesteading retreat was not as active as usual, we are all still reeling from the loss of Matty. Bobby purchased the small yet strong tractor Matty had here from his family – glad it will be staying here for both useful and sentimental reasons.

I want to apologize for the delay in getting the interactive interview with Grammie Pam posted. These last two weeks have been tough with the loss of Matty and I have just not been at the top of my game. I promise to get that interview to Dan by next week. There is a distinguished list of preppers eager to be a part of our interactive interview with an expert experiment and I do not want to disappoint either them or our The Survivalist Blog loyal readers.



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We also had to go buy a new refrigerator because the older one that came with the property finally gave out. Driving to the city to get the fridge, that was supposed to be in stock according to the Lowe’s website, was a nightmare and a half.

Long story short, they did not have it in white, or in black, only in stainless steel which I do not care for, though apparently many folks do. We went a few blocks away to get the same model at the same price from Menard’s and it took them 30 minutes to see if they still had a white one like their website (which I got on while standing in Lowe’s in a frustrate state) said they did.

Once we finally got the fridge, the guys at the loading dock put it in our truck on its side – so we had to wait 24 hours before using it. Yes, there was cursing.

We have some renewed predator issues courtesy. of a raccoon family that moved onto our land – uninvited. Not only did they kill two of my beloved ducks, I had to move Pearl and her kids out of the nursing stall where the attack occurred and keep them in the chicken run at night until we put a secure top on the stall.

Never once did I think that something would crawl up the wall and plop down into the nursing stall, but it happened. Learning how to expect the extreme unexpected in order to keep your livestock safe now before the SHTF.

Pearl is quite unhappy about being inside the chicken run at night. My three-legged goat did not like having her freedom abridged at night when she was staying in the larger nursing stall, so she really did not appreciate losing some square footage being sent into the chicken run.

We will soon be getting another nanny goat or doe to increase our herd – and take some of the reproduction burden off of Pearl. I really worried about her waddling around on three legs in the intense heat we had for a month – she got so huge this time since she was having twins for the first time.

The girlie boy goats are no longer with us. It was so difficult to part with them, but free ranging standard and small goats together, especially since one only had three legs, was challenging before the tiny kids were born…and then became super stressful.

I worried daily about Pearl or the kids being injured. The girlie boys, as much as I loved them, made destructive messes and got into way more places than our growing herd of pygmy, Nigerian dwarf, and cross bred babies did.

The girlie boys did not go far though. They are at our tribe member Sarah’s house. One of her youngest daughters, Maya Rose, has claimed them as her own and dotes on them, which they eat up – they were emotionally needy goats. I imagine Maya will be taking goats next year to the county fair instead of hogs and sheep like her siblings, she has a real knack with them.

I could have put the girlie boy standard goats in a pen and all would have been fine – no more goat droppings on the tables in the shelter house, etc. but I didn’t want to see them living a caged life.

It would have difficult for them to earn their keep living in a pen, and I just didn’t have time in my schedule for a daily goat walk supervising session. I didn’t want to tie them out to a cinder block to eat the grass and weeds like a lot of folks do, because of predators and concerns about them getting tangled or tangling up the horses that would be feeding in the same areas.

All of our animals earn their keep in one way or another. We are blessed to have enough land to keep large livestock and bale our own hay to feed them over the winter. Some preppers, even those with the same amount of land or more, caution against keeping large livestock for a variety of reasonable reasons.

But, I feel the extra cost and land use is worth it. Cows are obviously edible and provide milk and the horses have been a passion of mine since I was a child and will be a valuable mode of both transportation and used for agricultural work once the SHTF.

The horses (along with the goats) help keep our woods cut back. This will be even more valuable of a duty during a long-term disaster.

ruby and her herd

Ruby (the best horse to even gallop across the earth) and her herd regularly munch on weeds and grass just a few feet from the back door, and all around our house and our daughter’s cabin.

We want to keep the threat of wildfires and copperhead snakes threat down to the extreme minimum. Currently, all of the munching by the herd is a money and time saver – we no longer have to mow or weed eat any of the grass on our survival homesteading retreat, the horses take care of it all.

horses-eating grass on the homestead

The grassy area between our house and our daughter and son-in-law’s cabin has not been mowed since March, thanks to our hungry herds.

I often tell my Bobby that one day he is going to come home from work and find Ruby in the house – he does not think that is funny. He has this odd dislike of the idea of livestock coming into the house.

So far we have had all of the goats, most of the chickens, and the entire guinea flock at once, come in the back door.

Not one of the animals ever relieved themselves in our house, got in the trash, or onto the furniture – therefore I contend there is no reason not to let them come in. After all their hooves and feet are no more filthy than the dogs’ paws or the soles of our own boots, right?!

The only other prepping we did this week was continued self-reliance training of the stinkweeds. Colt is 3 ½ and Auddie is 2 ½ and they are not feeding and watering all of the livestock in the mornings. They take the bucket to the barnyard spigot and turn it on and fill it and I carry it to the stalls, but other than that assistance, they take care of the turnout chores on their own.

children singing on the barn gate

Who needs a swingset when you have a barn gate to swing and climb on?

The kiddos are now cooking their own lunch with me every day, and learning where their food comes from, how to be safe around a stove, as well as how to measure and pour ingredients. We also learn about a specific tree variety every week during our rides and hikes around the survival retreat.

When we are out for a ride or a hike the children are being taught how to stay on a marked trail and how to find their way to and from where they are going. I always let them lead the way, even if they get the end location wrong, and then help them figure out where they got turned around and how to get back to where they need to go.

I don’t think it is ever too young to start teaching self-reliance and general life skills. Doing so instills responsibility, independence, and pride in the children.

I am eager to know how you all prepped this week, and I am hoping we can broaden our lively discussions even more by sharing thoughts and experiences about the week’s prepping topics.

So, my questions to you for this week are:

1. How do you animals earn their keep now and hopefully during a SHTF scenario?
2. Do you (or did/will you) teach your children or grandchildren self-reliance skills from an early age like I am? What tips and pitfalls can you help other preppers avoid in this area?



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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 →

205 thoughts on “What I did To Prep This Week: Week 5

      1. Livinthedream,

        Ok, Thor and Sirius – maybe toi big a hurry!

        I’ve stopped trying to be first. I like getting to read 20 or 30 posts and then get the others as follow-up emails.

        1. I’m up early every day. Sometimes, too early. I have early time & then much later time to do “other stuff”. Definitely an “early bird”, but I leave that worm to others! ?

  1. Harvested first concord grapes & pears – all 4 of them!

    Re-homed four unwanted cockerels from Spring hatch. That was a huge accomplishment! Finding new homes for roosters ain’t easy!

    Transplanted a few more late season tomato plants.

    Gave one chicken tractor a good cleaning.

    Pulled up some huge pokeweed plants. I built a raised bed from last year’s chicken hay, which had composted. I use hay in chicken houses, cleaning out soiled every morning. I let it compost in place to break down into a soil – for about a year. Planted last year’s saved ancho pepper seeds. NONE came up. But pokeweed sure did! Removed & burned it. We have plenty of pokeweed on property, and we don’t eat it.

    Saved more wild lettuce seed. Got some ready to send, KisP.

    Met with our Forge (Blacksmithing) group – always fun!

    Joined mewedotcom social network under a partially assumed name & started two groups: Chicken Keeping & Bee Keeping 101. Both are growing!

    If anyone wants to join the conversations, come on!

    Not my most productive week. Gotta run. Chickens & church call.

    Tara: you have been on my heart & in my mind all week. May you know the peace that passes all understanding,

    1. LTD:
      Enjoy your Concord grapes. Late frost nipped mine. I have had mixed success with saving seeds. Sometimes the germination rate is quite low. Makes you realize just how important it is to treat seeds with care and keep more than you think you will need.

      1. I hear you, Moe. If you check the big box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc., and even smaller ones) you may be able to find potted grape plants marked down right now. This is the time to buy, IF they have what you want.

        1. LivintheDream,

          If you check the big box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc., and even smaller ones) you may be able to find potted grape plants marked down right now. This is the time to buy, IF they have what you want.

          WOW!!! I hadn’t thought of this and we’ll definitely look. We planted some grapes a few years back and while they are not yet dead, they don’t look to be producing grapes anytime soon. Thanks for the tip.

      2. Moe ,

        I have had mixed success with saving seeds. Sometimes the germination rate is quite low. Makes you realize just how important it is to treat seeds with care and keep more than you think you will need.

        It also makes us realize how much work our pioneer forefathers and their families had to endure, hoping the seed from last year germinated, they had enough and not too much rain, and the insects didn’t polish off what did grow.
        Even those of us who try and grow a lot of our own food, still have the luxury of the local grocery and store bought frozen or canned foods that keep when our gardens fail to produce all we need.

    2. LTD, I re homed 3 roos this week they are quite comfortable in the freezer. POLK Root is highly medicinal….And you BURNED it! Back to the southern herbalist video’s herbal walks… Darryl Patton one on Polkroot..6 min…

      1. Anonamo Also,

        I re homed 3 roos this week they are quite comfortable in the freezer.

        I’m glad someone else said this, since I was thinking the same thing, LOL.
        As for POLK Root, it looks like something else to investigate.
        The learning never stops, Thanks.

      2. We don’t eat pokeweed – period. Not that hungry yet. But not to worry – I only burned what I pulled out of the ancho pepper bed. Plenty more where that came from! It grows all over our land.

        Using it for medicine: I’ll look into that. Have not yet done so.

        Roosters: my freezers are full – all 3 of them! I can not afford to feed birds I don’t want or need, so, I re-home them. I’ve helped a poor woman who needed a food source for her family, a young man start his FFA project, and a veteran start his flock on his new homestead upon leaving the service. When they need them, they also get a free hen! Sometimes other people need my unwanted birds more than do I.

        Another consideration for me: I have no place ti harvest & clean birds except outdoors. When it’s 96 deg. F & 90% humidity, I’m just not doing that. I process birds in cool weather.

        It’s all good!

    3. LTD,

      What a sweetheart your are, thank you for thinking of me. A blacksmithing group sounds like a blast, my Bobby would love it. A long lost cousin that recently connected with his Ohio roots turned out to be a master blacksmith who co-owns a prepper compound near his home out west with some equally skilled buddies. Very much looking forward to meeting him next summer. Kudos to you for being able to rehome roosters!

      1. Tara & all,

        A blacksmithing group sounds like a blast, my Bobby would love it. A long lost cousin that recently connected with his Ohio roots turned out to be a master blacksmith who co-owns a prepper compound near his home out west with some equally skilled buddies. Very much looking forward to meeting him next summer.

        We have a guy on the old forum named Billy T who has been doing blacksmithing for a while; but, has been down after contracting IPF (the malady that killed my best friend in Athens); but, who has had a successful lung transplant. I just had an email conversation with him and he will be joining us here and is healing up enough to get his furnace and forge back together. Just thought you and the community might like to know.

        1. HI OP. Other things are getting in the way of blacksmithing, I am doing very well, health wise. Using the hills and high altitude around the cabin for therapy. On the home front, about finished with the solar power upgrade to 24V. Originally, I built that part of the solar system solely to power my oxygen concentrator. Thankfully, I don’t need those any more and have sold two of the concentrators we owned. One more to go. The system was designed principally to provide 12V to the oxygen concentrators. As you already know, losses occur when changing from DC to AC and back. In addition, I squared R losses are greater at the lower voltage. The panels open circuit voltage is 28V+-. I actually don’t even need a charge controller, but am using one anyway, as a precaution. Now, I’m installing another invertor and additional batteries for storage, so as to gain almost twice the power from the system as before. It’s wonderful to be able to “do stuff” again!

          We have been having daily rain, so the fire restrictions have been lifted, the trees and all wild plants are healthy again and our problem deer has relocated. Apple and plum trees are doing much better without her munching on them. Other than that, I made a massive quantity of BBQ sauce, many pounds of meatloaf for the freezer and sharpened knives. Gave some pine firewood away and am “straightening up” some of our hardwood. Trimming the pieces to lengths our woodstove can handle. Thank goodness for chain saws!

          I hope to be back on the forge in a week or two.

          1. Billy T,
            I first saw your comment to me about washing dogs, and replied there; but, I’ll say it again,
            Welcome Back!!!

            I agree with your attitude on chainsaws and have a 40 year old Stihl 028 Wood Boss that still runs fine; but, I no longer have the strength to manage the saw for long, so I’ve succumbed to battery powered electric. My kid sister gifted me a 7 tool Ryobi ONE+ starter kit, and we have been adding to that system, with an inflator/deflator, pole saw, and 10 inch chainsaw and string trimmer.
            Once again, it’s good to see you back.

          2. Billy T,
            Welcome home!

            Glad u r healing, may it continue well and swiftly.

            DH & I are “Blacksmiths-in-Training”. I’m interested in making usable, functional items & being able to repair. Yes, knives are fun, but we can do so much more!

  2. Puppy is so funny…..the wife was yawning on the couch and he walked by and stuck his nose in her mouth….LOL

    Bought more water
    Bought more dog food
    Bought more people food….LOL

    Freeze dried more green beans & mashed potatoes, next is roast beef and gravy……mmmmm

    Made 4 jars of pickles

    Doing maintenance on some 12v batteries.

    I found this while trying to find out if you can freeze dry jerky…..

    Thought I’d share….

    https://www.jerkyholic.com/beef-jerky-recipes/

  3. Well, I find puppy nose in mouth hilarious! But…did DH?!

    Thor, when u freeze dry your meats, sides, etc., how do u then package for long-term storage?

    1. LTD, mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Then I put them in individual tubs marked meats,vegetables and fruits/desserts. They are all labeled what is in them.

      1. Livinthedream
        As Thor1 said:

        LTD, mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Then I put them in individual tubs marked meats,vegetables and fruits/desserts. They are all labeled what is in them.

        We do pretty much the same; but, when I purchased my FD there was a spiff where I received an oil filter, 100 Mylar bags, 100 O2 absorbers, and a bag sealer. We haven’t been using the FD for now, since it really throws off a lot of heat when it’s running; but, with the cooler nights, we’ll start using it again soon (I hope).

          1. LivintheDream,

            Hey, OP! How have you been this week?

            Every day I stand up on my own two feet without help and without falling down is a good start. The daytime temperatures have not been horrid and the humidity has been manageable. Night time temps are getting into the 50’s and 60’s so a few open windows and a fan or two cools off the house rather nicely, and the new windows and insulation keep it pretty nice most of the day. We’ll be getting our electric bill about a week from tomorrow and I suspect this will be the big one for the year; but, sometimes you spend the money to be comfortable in your old age, LOL.

  4. LTD and Thor1,

    Today I was trying to stay awake so I honestly say “I am third”.

    Since you are the only two flirting with each other, I think I can honestly say, “I am third”.

    I am not religious at all, but I do deeply appreciate the sentiment. Just look it up.

    I’ll talk more later, it’s getting hot and I have an old pup still wearing a winter coat. He is going to get his belly shaved today and walk over a cold running hose. I’ll bet you a quarter that he stops when his shaved belly gets over that cold running hose 🙂

    1. Sirius, how are you doing with the fires out west???

      Puppy hates baths…..he needs one but runs from the hose….

      The other GSDs loved water……

      1. None in my area right now. Since I’m on the west coast, this is what we call “earthquake weather”. When it gets over 100 degrees here, we get more high magnitude quakes. I don’t know the explanation, but my guess is when things get hot, they expand. When they get cold, they contract. When you have multiple +100 days, things expand… I’m just waiting for one.

        I know axelsteve is dealing with things in his area of my (ugh) beloved state, but so far, no fires, no quakes and no feds to enforce the federal no weed law. Believe it or not, California is not that bad. Hahahahaha!

        1. Sirius, but doesn’t Commiefornia have a water ban….. LOL

          Oh that’s right the pup is registered to vote Democrat….. LOL

          I know you don’t own any firearms, but did you register your bullet button AR ???

          LOL Hahahaha…LOL

          Sorry my friend, I had to…….

          1. They have introduced a new law. Don’t know whether it has passed. Every homeowner may not use more than 55-gallons of water per day, per household. Of course, there will be exemptions for the rich – swimming pools, hot tubs, etc. And farmers, who must have water for livestock.

            Stop and think about that, folks. A 55-gallon barrel or drum full of water is all your household can use daily? Showers, drinking, bathing, cleaning, all of it. Penalties will be stiff for exceeding the daily allotment – unless of course, you’re one of the “rich” who need it for your pool, and have an exemption!

          2. I also understand that the 55 gallons is going to be brought down to 35 gallons. But that may have been “alternative news” so take it as from one who could be uninformed.

            The ones that bother me is the POLS who prohibit you from catchment or “excessive storage”. Then there are the ones who want to tax what falls on your property. These people are just out of touch with reality. “We have really done nothing to prevent this – but don’t try to do something on your own!”

          3. JP,

            The ones that bother me is the POLS who prohibit you from catchment or “excessive storage”. Then there are the ones who want to tax what falls on your property. These people are just out of touch with reality.

            And for some reason someone keeps voting them back in. New York will have a bonafide socialist in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, running for the democrat party.

            “We have really done nothing to prevent this – but don’t try to do something on your own!”

            The smart and the rich are already doing something by moving to Texas and other states, although I know some in Texas want them to stay out if they bring their big government attitudes with them.

      2. My GSD loves this bath. I would get into the tub with him when he was a puppy. I acted like it was a game. His favorite part now is acting like a little puppy when he is being dried off. LOL He still thinks he is 10 lbs.

        1. Bam Bam and Thor 1,

          My past few dogs didn’t like getting bathed, but they put up with it. But then, they were Chihuahuas too. My son could bathe two of them at once. Try that with a pair of 100lb GSD. 🙂

        2. Bam, a bath tub for puppy…….hahahaha……

          Only hope is outside holding a leash with the hose…..LOL

          Usually, son washes him…..LOL

          1. Thor,

            We got the Wolffeman at the end of October. So he was still a puppy during winter–hence bathing him inside during the winter. Now he takes a shower. We have a removable shower head sprinkler thing. He gets into the shower no problem. I bathe him and my husband cleans up afterwards. (I always get the best end of the deal.)

        3. Our dogs have been gone for a while and were not fond of the hose; but, they would make a beeline for the creek whenever they had the chance. I’m still not sure I understand their attitude between the two water sources.

          1. It’s not the water; it’s the sound of the water coming out of the faucet. A vet tech friend told me this. She also said that if your dog is scared at bath time, put down peanut butter on a pan or something. The dog will lick the peanut butter up and ignore the bath.

          2. My late, beloved lab didn’t mind being bathed but minded very much being shut away from people until she was dry. She made hair faster than you could brush it out! I used to use a vacuum cleaner on her. She actually loved it. I suppose she thought it was just another kind of petting.

          3. Billy T,
            Our pups didn’t mind being brushed or bating in the kiddy pool outside, it was just that hose we would use to rinse them off.
            BTW, welcome back to this new (old) forum.
            I mentioned you on Monday when there was talk of a blacksmithing group.
            Glad to see you here with the rest of the community.

    2. I don’t understand, he will go out n pouring rain and pee, the other GSDs would look at you like you were crazy…..go figure.

  5. Did my usual shopping and added to my grocery stash.

    Received my new HK-91 sight tool. But I also found the one that was missing, so now I have two. One is none, etc, I guess. One tool is now in the gun case with the rifle like it should have been all along. The other is in my gun tool box.

    Received my order of 5.56mm ammo. It didn’t come with an ammo can, so I had to use the one empty MTM brand can I had. Granddaughter is not happy because she liked to play with that empty can since it was plastic and easy for her to tote around. She never did figure out how to open it and I’m not going to teach her. My military cans are too hard for her to open, but the MTM cans are not that hard if she learns how. I suppose she will eventually, in which case, I’ll have to install zip ties. Meanwhile, she was happy enough to have one 30-round box to hold and examine for a little while.

    The battery in my SUV went out again. I got it jump started and took it to Wally World for a test, so I had get a new one. I expected that. The battery pack starter I have would not turn over the engine this time. A regular jump start had the power it needed.

    Tara, as a city boy, we had no livestock to care for except dogs and cats. Same with my kids. However, I was exposed to farm animals and I made certain my kids were too. My #2 daughter had a friend whose family had a full-sized horse, a Shetland pony, a couple of pigs, and a bunch of rabbits. She would take care of those animals when her friend’s family went on vacation. I would drive her there with my son, and all three of us would do the work. My son especially liked the pigs, possibly because they had a lot in common (that’s mean). ?

    My #1 daughter was a city girl. I did teach her what she needed to know to stay safe in the city. My #2 daughter and son were in Scouting and learned a lot about self-reliance skills there. I was an adult leader in their units, so I had a hand in teaching them. I learned a lot from the military and taught what I knew. I made certain, as they grew up, they knew about guns and gun safety since I carried one all the time as a cop and later when retired. All three of them have helped me clean my guns when they were strong enough. My granddaughter is getting that education now. I’ve already let her examine my long guns and pistols, but she isn’t terribly interested in them right now (too heavy?). She’s only 21-months. Ammunition seems to hold more fascination for her. Years ago, when #1 daughter was about 18-months, I took a photo of her with my HK-91. I’ve since taken similar photos of granddaughter, with both the HK and the M&P-15. I put a GI do-rag on her head for the M&P photo. Her expression is priceless (“Like, really, grandpa?”)

    1. Z36, the best way to find a lost thing is to buy another…..LOL

      Don’t post pics of G daughter on Facebook with guns, I heard someone did that and got charged with child cruelty or endangerment…. LOL

      1. Thor 1,

        I don’t. People are such idiots today. You keep seeing FB posts about morons calling the police on kids cutting grass, running lemonade stands, or the latest a kid trying to run a hot dog stand to earn money for school clothes. That latest one, the cops helped the kid get a business license and someone got a hot dog manufacturer to donate a summer’s supply of dogs for the kid.

      2. I shared that quote with my DH, Thor. He agreed, and got a good chuckle!

        “The best way to find a lost thing is to buy another.”

      1. TOP,

        Yeah that may not be a bad idea. I didn’t use it with my kids, although I did espouse the mantra of don’t touch, tell an adult.

        She does have her own gun already, a Crickett .22LR. Still a couple of years away from shooting it though.

    2. Zulu 3-6,

      It sounds like you started the kids our right and are now doing the same thing with the grandkiddo! I bet that photo was absolutely priceless! I wish scouting was liked it used to be. I was a Camp Fire girl and then a Girl Scout leader for many years. Our oldest grandson is a Cub Scout and a tribe member’s son is working on his Eagle Scout badge. Unfortunately, they do very little self-reliance skills training now, except for fun camp outs and events, they actually have video game badges?!? I donate to our local Girl Scouts when they are working on a project but haven’t bought any of their delicious cookies in years because most of the proceeds go to the council, which is now highly political in nature and pushing liberalism on the troops.

      1. Tara,

        It’s sad what became of the Girl and Boy Scouts programs. At one point, the Boy Scouts nearly bankrupted the ACLU over the right to choose their own membership. If the Girl Scouts had stayed the course too, the ACLU would be toast. Now, all that is down the tubes.

        Worse, the PC culture has indeed caught up to scouting. #2 daughter is an adult leader in Venturing Scouts now, starting there as a 14-year old Venturer (youngest age allowed). She is considering dropping out even though she does most of her work as a member of the council staff organizing and running Cub Scout events. Little boys love dirt, fire, and knives. Scouting isn’t giving that to them anymore. I dropped out of scouting about six years ago.

        1. Zulu 3-6 & Tara,

          It’s sad what became of the Girl and Boy Scouts programs.

          I agree, back in the 1980’s I worked with the local troop my boys were in, and we did something I don’t know would be allowed today. A group of us went to a state park in southern Ohio, and I taught them to do some rappelling and rock climbing. It was only a single day trip; but, years later I found out the impact that trip had on one of the boys. He now works for a local fire department and is on their rescue team, using ropes and some of the skills I taught them that day. Prior to that one event, he hadn’t even thought about a career doing something like what he enjoys today.
          I have trained a few new NRA instructors who are Boy Scout leaders; but, even that is happening less and less.

          1. TOP,

            I don’t think Boy Scouts are allowed to do rappelling anymore. Venturing Scouts, probably yes. They change what Scouts can and can’t do all the time.

            When I was a leader, Boy Scouts could only shoot rimfire guns and black powder. Venturing Scouts could shoot centerfire guns as well as rimfire. Part of the reason was the youngest Boy Scouts were generally 11, while you had to be 14 to be a Venturing Scout. I don’t know what the rules are now. I could ask #2 daughter.

          2. Zulu 3-6,

            I don’t know what the rules are now. I could ask #2 daughter.

            No need, All of those boys are now in their 40’s and 50;s and other than running a few rifle instructor classes in the recent past, I’m no longer involved,
            Most of the youth shooting around has been with one of the 4H clubs; but, those kids are now grown and in their 20’s.

  6. Not much on the prepping front this week. My oldest son is getting married Saturday. They wanted to plan the wedding themselves. Well, the cake hasn’t been ordered, the BBQ dinner hasn’t been ordered, the flowers haven’t been ordered, the guestbook, wedding candles and other things have not been ordered. They haven’t planned to purchase paper plates, plastic cutlery, napkins, paper towels, etc. They didn’t know they needed to get the marriage license three days in advance. The only things that have been planned is the venue for the wedding, the venue for the reception, the minister to perform the ceremony (who is a family member), the bed and breakfast for the wedding night and the tux (all of which were handled by other family members). They changed the venue for the reception three days ago (10 days before the wedding) and so had to send out new wedding announcements with the correct address. Needless to say, I spent the week planning their wedding. I will present them with limited options tomorrow afternoon. They are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I will have to resist saying, “I told you so!”

      1. Thor,

        I wish they would have eloped! LOL No I don’t. They have chosen an outside wedding in August in Florida. The wedding announcements said, “Bring an umbrella”.

        1. My oldest daughter had an night time outside wedding in Tallahassee, in January! A cold front had came through a few days earlier. The grooms little sisters were the flower girls. They were about to freeze to death and their mother didn’t even bring them sweaters. This old farm boy was ready, I had on long underwear under my tux.

          1. Daddio7,

            A cold front had came through a few days earlier. The grooms little sisters were the flower girls. They were about to freeze to death and their mother didn’t even bring them sweaters. This old farm boy was ready, I had on long underwear under my tux.

            I suspect some of those frozen city folk would make fun of us country hicks; but, your actions prove that in a real pinch, I’ll take those hicks any day, since too many in the city seem to have lost their common sense and survival instinct. One should at least have sweaters and raingear in the vehicle, close at hand.

      2. Thor1,
        I was thinking the exact same thing. My then wife and I eloped to Lake Tahoe when her mom and my mom started getting involved (read taking over). 1400 dollars and everything was billed to the hotel room. I highly recommend it. All of our friends who had big weddings all wished they had done the same thing.

        1. Sirius,

          1400 dollars and everything was billed to the hotel room. I highly recommend it. All of our friends who had big weddings all wished they had done the same thing.

          My fiancée (now my wife) were married in the living room of the preacher. In attendance were her two boys, my parents and her parents. We paid a small sum to the preacher, after which the whole wedding party including the preacher and his wife convened at a local restaurant. I think the total cost was under $1000.00 including our rings. The preacher told us that in his experience, that quite often, the more expensive and lavish the wedding, the shorter the marriage. We just passed 36 years in April and are looking for celebrations on our 40th and 50th. My BIL and his wife who live only a few miles from here, are about to celebrate their 60th so it is possible, LOL.

    1. Bam Bam,

      I know how much work there is to planning a wedding. My Ex did much of the work on ours, but she had no problem asking other people what needed to be done, etc. I helped where I could (and was allowed). It helped that she was the Captain’s Yeoman at her base in the Coast Guard and was used to organizing events. She and her mother made her gown from scratch. I got the job of ironing the thing the night before the wedding. That was a lot of ironing.

      1. All this time, Zulu, I thought you were a woman. LOL Go figure. Maybe I should read more carefully. 🙂 The bride is using the same dress her grandmother wore and her mother wore. So that part is done. She just flew in from L.A. yesterday. So I expect that we will make rapid progress. In just a few hours of talking on the phone we have figured out the order for the paper goods and other basic supplies, the container for wedding cards (a cute birdcage) and a guest book.

        1. Bam Bam,

          I thought this was a don’t ask-don’t tell website.

          Hahahahaha.

          Don’t worry, I’ve been confused with much worse than being a female.

          1. Thor,

            It would only be bad if he was a 36A. That’s like a training bra for a fat teen girl.

          2. Thor1,

            Z-Z36 ……LOL I hope that’s not your bra size……LOL…..LOL Bam how could you

            Now that is funny!!!
            I think I would know the difference between an “A” or a “DD” ; however, this one I can’t even imagine; but, perhaps it’s the late hour and I’m just tired. LOL.

          3. Bam, unless he was a MAN.,….LOL

            Makes me think of that state farm commercial….

            What are you wearing Jake (Z36) from state farm ?

            Ahh khakis…

            She sounds hideous….

            Well she’s a guy so…….

    2. Bam Bam,

      I so would not be able to resist saying “I told you so” lol. When our daughter got married Bobby contracted meningitis and was in the hospital in an isolation unit. Thankfully I had already purchased and all of the materials to make the rustic outdoor wedding decorations and my mother had ordered the meat and a cousin-in-law was baking the cake. The bride and groom made all of the decorations for outside and the indoor reception in the lodge that I had not yet finished. Bobby got out of the hospital two days before the wedding and led Brea on a horse through about three acres of pasture – I had not thought of shortening the walk until it was already started and was 97 degrees. Hectic at the time, but the after is what is most beautiful – at least that is what I told myself after pouring a stiff Jack and Coke at the reception, lol.

      1. Tera,

        I didn’t say, “I told you so.” But I sat down with my future daughter-in-law (who just flew in from Los Angeles) and we knocked everything out this afternoon. Wedding cake was ordered. Reception hall was visited. Guestbook, birdcage card holder, etc. were ordered. I had a bunch of stuff from my wedding that we never used–extra toasting glasses, cake topper, cake cutter set, candles, etc. Paper goods were ordered. She is designing her own floral arrangements, centerpieces and bouquet. The food was ordered. Friends and family were asked to bring side dishes. They just have to get their marriage license and all will be well.

        For their gift, we got photos of each when they were five years old. We will put these in a double folding frame. Whenever one is mad at the other, they have to look at this photo and ask, “Could I be mad at this person?” If yes, they have to turn the photo face down. When they are ready to make up, they can put the photo back up.

  7. Got the DW’s ATV back from the shop. If this is the way they run with a new fuel pump, I may put one in mine!

    Got the 8′ copper ground rods out of the “flower bed” in the front of the house (South facing). Moved them to the back yard shadowed area to ground the house again. Now I have to do a little prep getting the grass that grew in there waiting for this, then in go the blueberry and raspberry bushes and wild strawberry plants will go in the “westside” of the front yard (found some out camping). Both will require only weeding and will live through our winters.

    Added the Dewalt 20V impact driver to my drill as it was on sale (now I need the attachments). Got in some #10 cans of FD cubed meats. Got in another Lankey sharpening rod and some more ATV accessory parts.

    My friend’s youngest daughter got married this week (2nd for both). So they did it at his house, asked for no gifts but had a potluck food buffett that fed everyone multiple times with leftovers! These 2 are much more compatable with each other than they were with their 1st spouses (both of which bailed on them). Blended families are always interesting, but they will do fine.

  8. Tara,
    When you state:

    we are all still reeling from the loss of Matty.

    I really understand. I did a bit of Google Fu and found that he was just shy of his 61st birthday. My best friend who lived in Athens, passed in 2015, also just shy of his 61st birthday. In the more than three years since he passed, I don’t miss him as much; but, think about him and our adventures together all of the time. In some ways it doesn’t get easier; but, you need to think of those good times and the things he taught you, and it does help a little.

    As for your questions:

    1. How do you animals earn their keep now and hopefully during a SHTF scenario?

    Unfortunately, our horse and goat have simply become pets for the DW; but, we do get a lot of eggs from the hens, many of which are given away to neighbors, some of which are relatives. Our rural neighborhood is probably similar to yours, where people help each other when they have a skill or resource and you have a need, and no one really keeps track.

    2. Do you (or did/will you) teach your children or grandchildren self-reliance skills from an early age like I am? What tips and pitfalls can you help other preppers avoid in this area?

    We have no grand children; but, the children now ages 51, 46, and 27 all grew up with 4h projects, and gardening, and all have been shooting here on the property since they were kids. They all have a self reliance streak through them that we encouraged living where we can shoot a gun, hunt, fish, camp, and build a fire right on the property. We found that showing them little things like building a make shift shelter with a tarp and cordage and camping in the shelter, or starting a fire with a ferrocerium rod, and then challenging them to do the same helped a lot. They all live in various cities now; but, the oldest has a paid off house and an enviable firearms collection, including suppressors and SBR’s while the middle boy has a few firearms, and is a former marine corps scout sniper. Both are handy and do most of their own renovations, doing their own carpentry, plumbing, flooring and some electrical. The DD lives in the Boston area and does keep a GO kit around her apartment, which includes water filtration and fire starting material along with some shelter materials like Space blankets, most of which were gifts. All you can do is show them the path and encourage any of the things in which they show an interest. The lithium battery jump packs handed out for Christmas a few years back, also don’t hurt (nudge, nudge, LOL).

    This past week we did and acquired the following:
    1. Received 2 Saberlight Matches from woot.com. This is an extra long plasma fire starter, suitable for grills, pilot lights in ovens and water heaters. And general fire starting. It’s chargeable with USB.
    2. 2 Zunammy 5000 mAh Solar Chargers for All Smart devices – Black. I’m working into solar the way I started into prepping decades ago, one bit at a time as the budget allows; but, these were gifts from one of my sisters, so no real impact on the budget.
    3. Received a bag of ENCAP 11595-6 Mosquito Control Mix from Amazon while looking for Lemon Grass seeds. This year has been a Mosquito battle and we’re layering whatever defenses we can, with this being I think #6. One of the seeds is catnip, so I suspect the outside cats will also enjoy this area that will be planted next spring.
    4. Outsidepride Lemon Grass Plant Seeds – 1000 Seeds from Amazon, again for next spring planting.
    5. Received a new RCA Galileo Pro 11.5″ 32GB 2-in-1 Tablet with Keyboard Case running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) from Wal-Mart (walmart.com). For the $80.00 price the size is large enough for me to use primarily as a kindle reader and with talkback should allow books to be read to me.
    6. Purchased some meats and deli items from a local grocery that still has a real butcher shop. Ham salad, Potato salad, sliced ham & swiss cheese, and some pork chops. Sometimes convenience is good for both prepping and the soul.
    7. Lemon juice
    8. A backup Digital Atomic Talking Watch from Amazon
    9. Installed the new Netgear N600 WiFi range extender. Still testing out its effectiveness.

    1. From time to time we all discuss money and financial planning on this forum and it’s an important prep. Back in 1995 I had several things happen to my financial planning and success. I purchased and installed my first satellite equipment (DISH Network) and there was a show on one of the channels called: The Ric Edelman Show that taught me a lot about personal finance. I also purchased one of his books back then. The second was the first online brokerage called PCFN (PC Financial Network) where I could go online and purchase and sell stocks. Over the years that site morphed into what today is E*Trade and I was able to make quite a lot of money for my DD’s college fund, plus rollover some 401K money into several IRA’s I have today. Rick still has a radio show that I was listening to this morning while in the shower, when he mentioned a free online video course he has created on YouTube. While he has an interest in selling his services, he does present a lot of good information that is free for the watching here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuWlYSBr-AFcvwSUH_2Lx5g

      1. Ohio Prepper
        Thanks for the info. I used to listen to his radio show all the time, but haven’t in a few years.
        He gives great advice.

      2. Ric broadcasts on WTVN 610 AM locally, not sure if you get it up your way TOP. but it’s on the weekends. The station is on iHeart radio for those not local.

        1. Grammyprepper,

          Ric broadcasts on WTVN 610 AM locally, not sure if you get it up your way TOP. but it’s on the weekends.

          Oh yea. That is the station permanently tuned on the radio in the bathroom and the DW and I often listen during showers and other prep times. The station also has Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh and some good local talent, although we lost a good guy when John Corby unexpectedly passed last January at age 61, also too young.

          1. Grammyprepper,
            Another ting about 610 AM. I was listening to Ric last weekend and that’s were I came up with the link I posted.
            Saturday morning & early afternoon is also Ron in the garden where Ron Wilson takes calls and answers questions for Ohio gardeners.

    2. OP:
      Do you plan to plant the Encap Mosquito Control Mix now? I would like to know how successful this technique is. A work associate of DH contracted West Nile last fall with devastating results.

      1. Moe,

        Do you plan to plant the Encap Mosquito Control Mix now? I would like to know how successful this technique is. A work associate of DH contracted West Nile last fall with devastating results.

        Not right now, since the directions on the bag indicate it does well with a spring planting.
        Ohio has detected mosquitoes with West Nile in 20 of its 88 counties, and for now we are battling them in several ways. We have a DynaTrap Insect Trap hanging outside our back door that collects quite a few of them; and have installed Bug Zapper night light and LED light bulbs in our outside fixtures. I have bat houses I still need to get put in place and some 2 & 3 liter plastic soda bottles to make additional traps that use only a bit of sugar water and yeast as bait. This is the one I’m using: How To Make A Mosquito Homemade Trap https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXy_CD_wZSY
        Of course keeping weeds mowed and using insect repellent is a must, and trying to avoid going out during the evening hours when the mosquitoes are often thick.

      1. Bam Bam,

        Wow. O.P. Your oldest is 51. LOL You are old enough to be my father. How old are you?

        The two boys are step sons and the oldest was from a young, naïve girl of 17. My DW is 68 & I am 67, with her being 11 months my elder. The youngest is ours and is now 27; you can easily do the math. As I recall you fall right between my DD and youngest SS.
        If your name were only Luke, there’s a great punch line here, LOL.

        1. Thor1,
          Bam, we need to get him a handicap blog spot up front…….LOL
          While I’m not the spring chicken I used to be, I can pretty much still hold my own and see a long life ahead of me. I have the same attitude as comedian Steven Wright who said: “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” LOL.

          1. Or, “rumors of my devise have been greatly exaggerated”.

            Which past president of the U.S. said that?

          2. Reminds me of a story about Cary Grant. He was in London doing a play, and a New York newspaper reporter needed to verify his age for a story. The reporter telegraphed Cary’s agent in London, “How old Cary Grant.” Cary intercepted the telegram and telegraphed back, “Old Cary Grant fine.”

          3. Zulu 3-6,

            “Tumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” was from Mark Twain.

            That’s close; but, we actually have the written proof on this one as, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. that was the text of a cable sent by Mark Twain from London to the press in the United States after his obituary had been mistakenly published.
            Personally I think attributing almost any quote to Mark Twain or Winston Churchill is done all of the time, and often believed. Today however, the check is just a Google search away.

          4. Livinthedream,

            Or, “rumors of my devise have been greatly exaggerated”.
            Which past president of the U.S. said that?

            Until you corrected it, I suspect it was the same one who said he was misunderestimated.

    3. On your question #1, I had almost forgotten about the cats, until I started reading other posts. We currently have only 2 indoor and 2 outdoor; but, the ones outdoors do keep the mice down in the barns, and often hang out there with the other critters, just laying in wait.
      While it doesn’t happen often enough for our youngest cat, we do get an occasional field mouse in the house and he loves having something to play with. Watching him you understand where the phrase “Playing Cat and Mouse” originated.
      We also don’t have too many spiders or moths; but, on occasion have to get him down from the top of the fridge when he thinks he hears something in the ceiling.

    4. Ohio Prepper,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am very sorry for the loss of your Athens friend, as well. It sounds like you taught your children the same way we are teaching our children and grandchildren, as a daily lifestyle skill building. If you are blessed with grandkiddos I am sure you will do the same thing every chance you get. Grandkids are awesome, you can teach them things, have fun with them, fill them full of sugar and then send them home! Brea will have two teenage daughters back-to-back, Bobby and I are planning to sit back and laugh and enjoy the payback, lol.

      1. Sirius,

        When you plant that lemon grass, do it in pots. It’s about as invasive as mint.

        Thanks for the heads up. I think we’ll still sow the mosquito mix in a plot or strip; but, since the lemon grass was primarily for harvest as experimental food use, that would actually work out better.

  9. First to answer Tara’s questions- I have one small cat who is a great hunter of everything from grasshoppers to squirrels. She has really helped keep the critters away from the fruit trees and vines.

    My kids were not necessarily raised as preppers. But they learned how to work from an early age. Chores were part of a daily routine. I rolled my eyes at the first college orientation where the counselors were urging the parents to teach their kids how to do laundry before coming to school. All kids were taught indoor and outdoor chores from very early ages. This included cleaning fish and pheasant.

    It is canning season for me. Pickles, salsas, and peaches.

    Found some interesting black flying insects swarming around new cedar posts. They look like a cross between a borer and a wasp. So far no luck with an I.D. through Internet search.

    1. Moe,

      My kids learned chores too from an early age and granddaughter is too. All three of my kids knew how to do their own laundry long before high school. Once they learned, we never did it for them again. Cooking as well. In fact, my son is a better cook than #2 daughter. #1 daughter is as good as her mother (who is excellent, especially with Cuban foods).

      Parents who do not teach these basics to their kids are doing them no favors at all. They might as well cut their hamstrings.

      1. About bringing your kids up as preppers – Mine were not. DW and I were just starting our journey as they were in their mid to late teens. I had been retired from the Army for a couple of years and my DW was about to retire. We had bought our 1st home and were not going to be moving around as much. Stockpiling was not particular.

        However, the one daughter who still lives near us has seem some of the benefits of prepping and especially the financial end. It’s the grandsons who are really getting the lessons. They are now in their mid to late teens, and have seen our preps grow. We talk about what and (most importantly) why all the time. Being they are teens, their thought processes are growing all the time, understanding to follow. We discuss the why and OPSEC all the time. They have lived with it for years (especially with an estranged ex-son-in-law), who and why they should not talk about it, no matter what they themselves are doing. I think as their personal lives settle down, and we continue to talk, they will build up their own systems.

        1. JP,
          I think you are on the right track for the grand kids. My step sons were 10 & 14 when we married and we immediately did things boys like to do, like camping and shooting. The boys were mostly gone when our DD was born and she just learned how to do things by example.
          My siblings and I grew up the same way in the 1950’s & 60’s with parents who just did what they had to to raise 4 kids on a single income. We purchased bulk foods and cooked mostly from scratch, so I didn’t know any different. While doing this, occasionally pointing out the benefits don’t get lost on most kids, especially when they sometimes get a treat of some sort, and you mentioned that we could afford the treat because of all of the other frugal measures.
          Living the lifestyle is IMHO the best way to show others how good things can be, with no undue preaching or lectures even necessary.

    2. I am seeing college students today who were never taught to cook for themselves, do laundry or clean up after themselves. I started seeing this about 10 years ago. Now there are very few students who understand “adult skills”. They don’t know how credit works. They don’t understand why they should strive to own their own home (income tax deduction). Even fewer have skills they can fall back on like carpentry or plumbing.

        1. Mari ,

          Bam Bam, amazing ain’t it? Such a shame that so many are so clueless.

          The larger tragedy is that they also get to vote, and too many of them thought Bernie Sanders with his free stuff made sense. With people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arguing that we need free health care, free tuition and a $15.00 minimum wage and that cutting expenses for I.C.E., and military and taxing the rich will pay for it, this country could be in long term trouble. By the time it happens I suspect I will no longer be around to worry about it; but, those clueless kids will no doubt be looking for someone other then themselves to blame.
          If capitalists like Bam Bam and her colleagues would only have bigger hearts (and softer heads) and teach college courses for no pay, perhaps we could have that free college, LOL
          Someone would of course also have to donate the books and the venue, no doubt providing free heating. Cooling, and internet in the process.

      1. Bam Bam,

        Pathetic ain’t it.

        My son has had a problem for the last couple of years trying to find himself. He is quite capable of “adult skills,” but he has been searching for what he wants to do in life. He has been working as a helper on construction sites and has a bit of knowledge now of building trades. He doesn’t like them. He also doesn’t want to go to college or go in the military.

        I have been talking to him off and on (and his mom has been nagging him terribly and wonders why he won’t talk with her about his future anymore). Last week, finally, he mentioned he was thinking about looking into a local trade school for their automotive training. He has always liked tinkering with cars with his friends. I told him to stop thinking and go for it. He did and made an appointment for the school’s orientation program next month.

        Now the trick, if he is accepted, is scaring up the tuition. He can get student aid, but he doesn’t want a pile of debt at the end of school (although tuition is lower than regular colleges). The course is full time. We’ll figure it out.

        1. Zulu,

          My oldest brother is a master tech. He mentioned that the average age of a mechanic in the U.S. is 50 years. These folks will be retiring over the next 10-15 years. Very few young people want to actually work (manual labor). Supply and demand says mechanics will make good money. If he is serious about this, look into getting tools from someone who is retiring.

          1. Bam Bam,

            That’s one thing about my son, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. He’s been thinking about a trade for a while and I think he finally settled on automotive mech. He’s always liked tinkering on cars with his friends. He gave construction trades a good look as an unskilled helper and decided he didn’t care for any.

            Good tip about tools. I’ll pass it on to him. He will need to start saving money and collecting tools now. Hopefully, they might get some discounts as students as well.

          2. Bam Bam,

            My oldest brother is a master tech. He mentioned that the average age of a mechanic in the U.S. is 50 years. These folks will be retiring over the next 10-15 years. Very few young people want to actually work (manual labor). Supply and demand says mechanics will make good money.

            I hadn’t quite thought about this in age terms, because living in a rural / agricultural community, most kids, at least the boys are exposed to FFA & 4H and getting your hands dirty is rather common. We have a great auto guy who can handle most work, and has good people to do work he can’t do, like an alignment. His mom is in her late 70’s and still mostly runs the office, and he is nearly my age; but, his boy, who went to school with my DD attened a diesel engine school and now works with his dad, making a nice living, and in line to take over a thriving business.

        2. Zulu 3-6,
          Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs and the CNN series Somebody’s Gotta Do It fame has started the mikeroweWORKS Foundation that helps fund people going into the trades. I’ve been following this for a while, and saw an interview with a couple of young folks who had gotten free training in diesel and hydraulics from Caterpillar who then helped place them in high paying jobs. Cat sells a lot of heavy equipment and it is in their best interest to have technicians who can service their equipment after the sale. You can check out the details @ http://profoundlydisconnected.com/foundation/

    3. Moe,

      Your laundry story made me laugh really hard. Last week my Mother met for lunch with some old friends in a restaurant that is now central to all of them in another county. One of her friends, who was a favorite of mine growing up, was stating that her granddaughter is off to college on a softball scholarship in the fall and how she is urging her daughter-in-law to teach her how to do laundry and to know how long food keeps in a fridge and when it is no longer safe to eat – skills she felt should have been learned long ago. Ironically, moments after the head-shaking revelation, I happened to text mother a photo of Colt and Auddie learning how to make their own lunch. She didn’t have the heart to tell her dear old friend that her very young great grandchildren had already surpassed the skills of her college-bound granddaughter. Doing so would surely have gotten the daughter in law in more trouble, lol

  10. Rough week and glad it is just about over with. Mom died early Tuesday morning. Sister called as soon as the hospice nurse came over to pronounce her. Jumped in the car and fought the I20 and 285 morning traffic to Suwanee. Usually an hour drive but took an hour and a half. Got there and funeral home had already taken her so gathered family and went to the home to talk with the funeral director. Mom didn’t have much insurance so we were working within a budget. Family looked at coffins and gathered around some beautiful ones with some 3 to 4,000 dollar price tags (We had planned to pre-buy all this Saturday but she left ahead of schedule so we were at the mercy of the at need guy). I asked him for the less expensive coffins and he opened another door and we got a really nice one for $895. Pays to ask the questions. Did all the rest of our business there plus providing the outfit for mom and fresh undies and knee highs (no shoes). Left there for another hour and a half ride back to Douglasville to the cemetery to deal with them. I had already prepaid the opening and closing and had the vault so just had to sign the interment papers and lay hands on the proper plot for the burial. Thursday was the funeral and it was set for 11 but director wanted us there at 9:30. Left the house at 8am and got there at 9:45a. More papers to sign, hands to shake, hugs all around, ceremony, then back to sisters house for lunch and then another hour and a half back to the cemetery to make sure they had mom buried in the right spot (they buried dad in the one that should have been for her so I didn’t want to leave anything to chance). Looked good, worked Friday, Saturday morning got up with scrub brushes and Simply Green and water and went and cleaned and polished the marker for the family to gather around that afternoon. Good family gathering and simple service around the grave. Church today and many hugs and words of support from friends and preacher. All through the week the phone was busy with text of support and prayers. Meant a lot to me and mine.
    No other prepping other than more mental prepping of what else I need to do to make it easier for the family if I pre-decease them. Working on that and sorting out what to do with the PM stock and guns and such to make sure everyone has what they need when they need it.
    That’s my week and I’m hoping for a much quite week to come.

    1. Cliff-
      Sorry for your loss. I am glad you have a community of support. Your mental prep is one that I have not done but should. Sending prayers up for your family.

    2. Cliff:

      First, sorry for your loss.

      My Mother was ill the longest for me. But she was a planner and had everything set up and done/paid for. Including her estate sale!

      My Father and I were estranged (by distance and circumstances more than anything else). My oldest sister had been taking care of him and had everything set up. I want down to rebuild family relations and help out. Spent the last 6 weeks with him and both of us wished we’d done it sooner. We knew his final wishes and distribution of assests – there wasn’t much. He lived a modest life style in a small house.

      I feel fortunate that there were every few sibling issues over the estates in both cases. I have heard and seen some families come apart at the seams over estates.

      Thanks for sharing though. It started some needed discussions between the DW and I.

    3. CID, sorry for the loss of your Mom. I know how you feel, I’m still in shock from loosing mine and ts been a ear. I’m here for you too. Prayers for you and your family.

      1. Thor1,
        The only thing that makes this bearable is that the dementia took away all of her memory of me and the rest of the family a couple of years ago. When I would go visit she would smile and listen to me tell stories about the family but to her I was just a pleasant stranger who dropped by to talk and was forgotten as soon as I was out of sight. Knowing that her body lived and died without the essence of who she was makes it a bit easier as I feel like she left her body behind months ago. The final shutting down of the body means that she has blessed relief from the pain and the emptiness and I am happy with the sure knowledge that she is in Heaven now and having a grand reunion with the rest of the family that went on before her.

        1. Cliff,
          A good friend lost her mom to Alzheimer’s and had much the same philosophy, telling us that her mom had died years earlier; but, the body had not yet caught up.
          Her father who is a retired chemistry professor visited his wife daily and spent time as you did, as the kind stranger. My friend was also a bit thankful, that her father was also released from a burden and could live a more pleasant life after the final event. For me personally, a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s would I think hit me harder than cancer or other diseases. Steven Hawking was diagnosed with ALS and given only years to live at age 23; but, lived until age 76, accomplishing much in those 50+ extra years. As long as our cognitive abilities are intact, we can still learn and teach others, and that is our only real legacy.

        2. CID, just think of the good times that you were blessed to be with her. I think she would be happy to know that you remember everything for her.

          She is in a better place now and looking down at you smiling….. God bless

    4. Cliff,
      I am sorry for your loss. My folks passed in 2002 & 2011 and my younger brother in 2016 and one thing you stated that was made clear to me with his passing.

      No other prepping other than more mental prepping of what else I need to do to make it easier for the family if I pre-decease them.

      My brother had done nothing, since his passing was unexpected and quick, and a lot of things could be handled with money; but, the biggest thing that made my siblings & I scramble, was putting together his obituary. He ran his own business and was a rather private person, and while my sisters knew the university from which he graduated, they did not know what degrees he had. That being said, the DW & I have started putting together outlines of our own obituaries in order to get all of the facts correct, and save those left behind, one more little piece of work. Some may consider an outline of your own obit to be morbid; but, I think it’s no more morbid than a living will to take those hard stressful decisions off of your loved ones. And finally, who can treat the description of your life better than you?

      1. Top,
        Mom’s was easy, we are a small family and most of her working life was as a cafeteria worker in a Middle School. We put it together at the funeral home, but in retrospect there was so much left out and I’m the only one in the family that remembers all the places she worked before they and my sister had forgotten that we had a stillborn sister but she was delivered full term and given a name and buried in the family plot so she was my sister of my mom’s 3rd and last child.

        What you said does strike home. I spent 23 years in the Air Force and went a lot of places that I never talked about with family but I think it is important for my daughter and her family to really know my background so I am going to start working on that. DW went ahead and paid for her cremation while we were with the funeral director and that was another thing we hadn’t talked about until that day. Now that I really know her wishes then I’m better equipped to handle what may come if she goes first.

        1. Cliff,

          Mom’s was easy, we are a small family and most of her working life was as a cafeteria worker in a Middle School.

          It was the same for my parents. Dad worked for the Post office / Postal Service for 38 years and Mom stayed at home raising the kids, often volunteering at the church or the Red Cross. It was my brother who was the enigma, since the one sister that live back in PA didn’t interact with him all of the time, living her own life in a town only 10 miles away. They were on good terms; but, sometimes life and your own family gets in the way.
          I am the eldest living 300 miles away

          I spent 23 years in the Air Force and went a lot of places that I never talked about with family but I think it is important for my daughter and her family to really know my background

          My youngest sister like you spent a 20 year career in the Army, living in places near and far, and now lives and works in Key West 1400 miles away. I remember some of the places she talked about, from Panama to the Philippines and Texas to Hawaii; but, only she can put together the whole picture. Being 12 years my junior, I sincerely hope that those details will fall to someone else, a long time in the future.

          I am going to start working on that. DW went ahead and paid for her cremation while we were with the funeral director and that was another thing we hadn’t talked about until that day.

          My youngest sister picked up those expenses also and we are now in the process of getting my brothers estate settled more than 2 years later. He has a brokerage account with a substantial portfolio that will more than pay her back; but, having no will or other documents, means tons more work for us to resolve the mess.
          We (the DW & I) will be meeting with an attorney in the next month or so, to revisit our will that is 20 years out of date and probably set up a family trust at the same time. You work for 40 years and build retirement savings, not realizing that some of the hard work is still ahead.

          Now that I really know her wishes then I’m better equipped to handle what may come if she goes first.

          This is a good topic, and although I am sad for those whose life events started this thread, I think we can all benefit from discussions like these.
          And you and I still need to work on an HF schedule sometime.

      2. TOP,

        It’s good to be prepared, even for your death. After all, it is inevitable, Mr. Anderson.

        I have an envelope with a couple of pages of instructions, primarily addressed to #1 daughter. It has my safe combos, the location of a binder with all of my firearms information, financial stuff, where to find things in my apartment, etc. She already has a copy of my living will. I’m quite remiss in getting my regular will updated, but the instructions also cover distribution of my assets. I don’t own stocks and bonds, or real property, so my estate is pretty simple. #1 daughter has a copy and she has keys to my apartment and authority with the management of my complex to enter when necessary.

        I also included a draft of my obituary, which she is free to edit.

        I also wrote a letter to my granddaughter to be given to her when she is old enough to read and understand it. It isn’t sealed so #1 daughter can read it and exercise her judgement as to when to give it to her daughter.

        I have very few secrets, especially from #1 daughter, and nothing to shock the conscious in any event.

    5. Cliff,

      I am so sorry for your loss. For the rest of the pack, note that Walmart sells urns and coffins. (I hope this is not in bad taste to post this.)

      1. Bam Bam,
        Not in bad taste at all. If I had more time to prep I would have shopped Walmart and Sam’s for the coffin and may very well pick out my own urn soon. The one my DW bought for her deceased son was only about $90 with all the engraving and we moved him from the shipping box and put him in the urn. The urns at the funeral home range from $300 up to $1500 and the funeral director, while we were talking about cremations started trying to sell us plots in the cremation garden. I’m happy to be on the mantle or in the basement or in a box but it’s silly to pay $2500 or more for a small concrete plot.

        1. CID, I am so sorry for your loss. For the process it sounds like it went fairly smoothly, even if before ypur intended trip. Having family members aware of wants and needs of our details is one of the best preps we can do for our family..
          I lost both parents in 2015, both had set up thing to be cremated. ( they had just enough to cover this expense). We did not have the money for the urns..not even the 90$ ones, I am posting our solution for others who may be in this situation.. They both wanted their ashes to be placed in the foot of my grandparents graves..and had done some pre-planning, with lots of details left with the undertaker..It took about a week.for their ashes to be returned…. So we went to Lowes and bought 4″ cpcv pipe, and 2 caps and 2 cleanout ends. It took approx 2.5 feet to make the burial tubes for each..and was within our budget.(of course used pcvc glue.)
          For each of them, I took 2 of the new bags that french bread is packed in from the grocery- and lined the container, labeled it inside and outside. I do not have to be concerned with someone selling a pretty urn or donating it at goodwill.They rest in the place they had requested.

          1. AA,

            That was a clever idea with the PVC pipe.

            My dad died in 1971 and was cremated. My mom kept his ashes in a nice, but not fancy, urn, on her dresser. Years later, when mom became ill with dementia, one of my sisters moved her to the Chicago area and supervised her care in a nursing home. My sister raised holy hell if things weren’t 100% right too.

            Eventually mom died and was also cremated. My dad never had a memorial service (at his request), but my sister wanted one for mom. We decided that dad was going to get one too, like it or not. With military honors as well (Marine Corps).

            My sister bought a couple of ashes containers that dissolve in water and a few days after the memorial service, she placed the containers in Lake Michigan off Chicago’s Navy Pier, together. Every parent deserves a child like my sister Pat was towards our mom.

    6. I am so sorry. It is good you were able to make some decisions before her passing and all went smoothly with family. Reminds me of things that happened when my DH passed that we can laugh about now, since he was always playing jokes on people. I was helping the hospice nurse dress him and when we rolled him over, he started rising. The nurse and I looked at each other in shock and after a couple of seconds, I realized I had placed his arm on the bed control. And after DH was placed in the hearse, the driver asked to look in his room because he couldn’t find his phone, so we called the number. It rang in the body bag.

    7. Cliff,

      I am so very sorry for you loss. Having the foresight to plan to make sure your family has what they need when they need it is definitely a show of mental and emotional strength on your part. Will keep you and yours in my prayers.

  11. What do my critters do to earn their keep?

    Well, cats (that really belong to neighbor, but, now they’re mine!) keep rats and mice out of garage and out of tractor and trucks. No more chewed wires!

    Dogs give us love 24/7 and keep other critters in their places.

    Chickens give us eggs and meat. And entertainment.

    Bees…well, so far, nothing…but it’s just about time. I mean, they’ve only been in these hives since April. But they’re producing honey! Oh yeah.

    No other critters for now. I really want miniature dairy cows; a heifer and a bull. I went to breed and grow my own little herd. Minis eat a lot less than full-size and produce just as much milk, ounce for ounce.

      1. Not so much @ 13 & 14 years old. Although they do still bark at everything that moves or makes a sound!

    1. LTD,

      I am trying to talk my Bobby into mini cows – Dexters to be exact. We have the space for standard cows, but they intimidate me always have. It is an illogical fear, just like my fear of water moccasins in Ohio where I know they don’t naturally exist. But, it is a fear just the same. Put me in a field with rowdy horses I have never met, even wild ones, and I am fine and can work with them and calm them, but get a cow within 50 feet of me and I always feel like it is going to charge me, I do not like cows…at least now live ones. I am quite at ease with a big juicy steak or hide I am tanning, lol.

      1. Don’t be hatin’ on me fof this, Tara, but I don’t do horses! I’m not really afraid, but, those are some powerful animals!

        Of course, stupidity and horses don’t mix. Last time I got on a horse it was a spirited Gelding that had just been mane-clipped. And I decided I could ride him bareback!

        When he couldn’t brush me off on a tree, he merely cantered downhill, lowered his head, and I went rolling off!

        Yep. He won!

        1. Livinthedream,

          When he couldn’t brush me off on a tree, he merely cantered downhill, lowered his head, and I went rolling off!

          Now that is funny!!!
          I suspect it was also a lesson learned.
          I’ve done a lot of riding; but, never bareback.

      2. Tara,
        Your fear of cattle is not necessarily that odd, as are fears of large horses for some and snakes for others; but, if you have barn sense, and can handle horses, cattle, except for bulls are not that big a deal. I can’t think of anything I’m really afraid of; but, the DW has two fears I consider odd. She can work with horses, cattle, snakes, pigs, and spiders; but, heights (above the 3rd or 4th rung on a ladder) and mice are her fears. I once saw a mouse come at her in the house and watched her levitate onto the arms of a couch and chair to get off the floor. They are called irrational fears or phobias fir a reason, and can be overcome by taking them on a bit at a time. In my youth I was deathly afraid of heights; but, rock climbing, and skydiving pretty much eased that fear; although all I clime now a days is a ladder or my radio tower.
        My biggest concern with any cattle is they can drop a load on your shoes without warning, and that’s a lot of B.E. compared to our horse and goat.
        B.E. (Bovine Excrement) BTW is my version of B.S. that’s a bit less crass and a bit more descriptive.

        1. I keep working on my cow fear. When Bobby’s fire chief, a life-long cattle farmer was suppose to back up his comment about cow’s being docile, Chuck told me how he had gotten bruised ribs, rammed into fences, etc. Yet, if I looked at the situation rationally, all of those same things can and have happened with horses. My only other real fears are being closed in/loss of control more than anything. Like, I would never fly in a commercial plane or take a cruise, can’t stand anything where I cannot come and go and stop etc. as I please – I rarely every passenger even in a car, lol. And fish. Fish flip me all the way out like snakes and spiders do some people, but at least I know where that fear comes from….mean big brothers, lol.

          1. Tara,

            I keep working on my cow fear. When Bobby’s fire chief, a life-long cattle farmer was suppose to back up his comment about cow’s being docile, Chuck told me how he had gotten bruised ribs, rammed into fences, etc. Yet, if I looked at the situation rationally, all of those same things can and have happened with horses.

            Indeed they have, and except for bulls, I think horses can be much more dangerous. For cattle you need to watch your feet to not get stepped on, and of course avoid pinch points for any large animal, since a 1500 pound critter can crush you against a stall wall or fence even by accident. Horses have also been known to kick and bite.

            My only other real fears are being closed in/loss of control more than anything. Like, I would never fly in a commercial plane or take a cruise, can’t stand anything where I cannot come and go and stop etc. as I please

            We fly all of the time, and I used to run trips to Kentucky & West Virginia to go spelunking, so no claustrophobia here; but, you actually can come and go as you please. This does bring up the obvious question to you, stairs or elevators? LOL.

          2. DH & I refuse to cruise, also. DD is aggravated with us – she wants to give us a cruise to Mexico. 1) I can see Mexicans anytime I want, nit that far away; 2) I hate being ON the ocean; 3) I don’t do small spaces well; 4) I have NO INTEREST in being trapped with hundreds of unpredictable strangers.

            I don’t fly any more, either. Ever.

            No apologies.

          3. LTD,

            I’ve been on one cruise, years ago in the Caribbean for our third wedding anniversary. I enjoyed the trip, but wouldn’t do one now for much the same reasons you won’t. I hate to fly commercial, but will when I absolutely have to (which isn’t often).

            My Ex got pregnant with #1 daughter on that Caribbean cruise. My fault. She’s Cuban and Cuba is in the Caribbean. I took her back to the breeding grounds. 🙂 Can’t really complain. #1 daughter was a good child and is a great daughter.

          4. Zulu 3-6,

            I hate to fly commercial, but will when I absolutely have to (which isn’t often).

            I don’t mind flying on occasion, and with the DD in the Boston area and my kid sister in Key West, we have done a bit of flying on occasion, with my longest trip being to Hawaii back in 2008. My sister spent her last 9 years in the Army in Hawaii, so for the cost of 3 round trip air fares, we spent 10 days there with a chauffeur and guide on hand. While Hawaii was not on my bucket list, getting to see the Arizona, the Missouri, and the USS Bowfin, a WW II submarine that I really enjoyed and with my smallish stature got to peek in places others could not fit.
            It seems to me that a cruise means just lounging around, eating, playing shuffleboard and perhaps shooting a bit of skeet off the fan tail; but, other than the shooting, I would I suspect be rather bored. I did take several smallish cruises as day trips in the Keys and off of West Palm Beach, diving on the reefs and wrecks, some of it right in the gulf stream for a very memorable experience.

          5. TOP,

            On our cruise we had a couple of stops, including San Juan, PR where we visited some of my Ex’s family. Old Town San Juan was quite interesting.

            We also stopped in the Dominican Republic and had a good time ashore. We hired a teenager as a guide and he did a good job. Didn’t speak hardly any English, but that didn’t matter as the wife spoke Spanish. Had a bit of adventure going back to the ship which was docked near a Dominican naval base. We had to go past the main gate of the base and a bunch of hookers hung out there. My Ex had long, luxurious, black hair. One of the hookers was intrigued and she pulled out a comb and started combing my wife’s hair (without permission). My wife went ballistic, in Spanish, and along with our guide, they were giving that hooker holy hell. The military police came out and ran the hookers off and got in a few verbal licks at “our” hooker too. They didn’t want to hurt the tourist trade. Once we were back aboard, the wife was in the shower, shampooing her hair like crazy. She imagined creepy crawlies in her hair for the rest of the day.

            So cruises can be pretty interesting.

          6. Zulu 3-6,

            So cruises can be pretty interesting.

            I hate to laugh at others misfortunes; but, I will admit your story had me laughing. I can fully understand your wife in the shower perhaps even using Brillo Pads just to be sure!!!! Yuck!!!

          7. I fly several times a year, for business and pleasure, and, while I’m a control freak* and somewhat claustrophobic, if I’m in an aisle seat, I just bury my head in my iPad and don’t think about it. Have 3 trips coming up in late August/September, in fact, Sacramento, D.C. And Orlando. You’re a heck of a lot safer in a plane than you are in a car.

            As for cruises, great way to get around and see lots of stuff without having to unpack and pack every day (also did a bus tour of Costa Rica, lots of packing and unpacking and luggage outside the room by 6 am). We’ve done a Europe river cruise (small room, small beds, we’re both fairly large people, in fact DH is 6’6″ and I had to pull a chair up to the bed so I could sleep with my knee crooked out); a Carnival cruise of the Caribbean – again, great way to see 6 or 7 islands without packing/unpacking, but I would NEVER sail on Carnival again, too much of a zoo; an 11-day Norwegian Mediterranean cruise, fabulous (we splurged for top-drawer accommodations); and a Princess cruise-tour of Alaska. A cruise cabin is just a floating hotel room. Very convenient.

            *If DH and I are in the car together, inevitably I’m behind the wheel. He even ADMITTED that I’m a better driver than he is. He almost got us into a rear-end accident in town one day because he was so busy looking at the drivers in oncoming traffic talking on their cell phones. He came thisclose to landing us in a ditch, swerving to avoid the car ahead. I yelled at him. “Worry about ME, not about them!!!”

            Long and short, it’s a big wonderful world, and you gotta get there somehow.

          8. As for cruises…I have never taken an ocean cruise but took several river cruises in Europe. Very nice.

  12. Hey, just thinking, if a nuclear weapon makes it through our southern border and the left tries to blame Trump we can all say…..He tried to build a wall but the Democrats wouldn’t let him. Mark my words, this is their goal.

      1. Tara, thanks,

        I have calculated something very interesting. If every working American had $17.00 a month withheld in tax for a border wall, the wall would be paid for in one year.

        That is….. $204 X 126,000,000 working people for one year. $17.00 a month !!!

        At the cost $ 21 billion that the Democrats DHS said it would take to build the wall.

        How much could this improve America ?

        Less drugs coming across the border.
        Less terrorists coming across the border.
        Less drug gang members ……less crime

        More Americans working.

        Use the Army corps of engineers and the cost could be less.

        $17.00 a month

        Add $2 billion to harden the grid……

        And walla, America is great again.

        Sorry for the rant…..

          1. Yep. And then our tax dollars are going to a “guaranteed income” for deadbeats to forward the socialist/communist destruction of our Democracy. Is that war drum sounds I hear?

          2. Thor1,
            Good article but, other than clarifying the numbers, there were no surprises.
            One thing that isn’t mentioned is that if an illegal immigrant is paying taxes, that means another crime using someone else’s SS number, which can cause a problem for the unsuspecting person whose number is being used. When you get your W2 and 1099’s and file your taxes based on that information, the IRS will see unreported income that can be an issue and get you audited.
            The illegal’s around here are causing problems with two dairy farming friends. They each run small family operations; but, they are competing with mega dairy operators with hundreds or thousands of head of milking cows, being maintained by cheap labor from illegal’s. The buyers of the milk can fill a tanker truck by traveling to a lot of small farms, or make a single trip to a mega dairy and fill several times per day.
            There is actually a clearing house that handles the illegals to keep the operators an arms length from the actual issue that I consider a criminal act.
            Of course the elimination of ICE will fix all of this. Right?

          3. Zulu 3-6,

            My personal favorite: Old age and treachery beat youth and skill every time.

            Same thing with different words. I also tell people that at my age I don’t have the stamina to go multiple rounds, so I just have to kill you quick.
            All variations on a theme.

        1. Thor1,
          I think your calculation has a flaw. While $17.00 per month makes good sense using the math of common folk, you did not take into account the $10.00 of the $17.00 that the Dems would take out for social justice programs. Until we rid ourselves of the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, and their ilk, there will never be quite enough money to do anything that makes common sense.
          It Is however, otherwise a great idea.

          1. TOP,

            The accurateness of your math recalculation made me laugh really really hard out loud!

          2. Tara,

            The accurateness of your math recalculation made me laugh really really hard out loud!

            I’m a retired engineer and it’s just a part of my personality, although sometimes it can be a bit annoying to others, LOL.

        2. I have some additional ideas..
          In addition,. If every conservative retiree/disabled donated 10$ ,one time to the wall, it could be built at record pace.
          When the vermin who are proven guilty of serious crimes against all humanity and treason are arrested and all their property impounded… It should be first to return portions to those from whom, it was stolen ….and any remainders as in accruded interest… to pay for border wall as high as needed and as DEEP as needed.

          1. Tara,

            Where do I send me contribution to your fabulous idea!!!??

            What we need is a large scale legitimate organization (Oathkeepers?) to set up a Go Fund Me page. I’d kick in at least $10.00.

  13. Now to address Tara’s questions:

    1. How do you animals earn their keep now and hopefully during a SHTF scenario?

    I have four cats and a German Shepherd Dog (GSD). My cat lounge around on the bed all day. They get mad if their meals are served late. The Wolffeman is very good at barking when someone unfamiliar knocks at the door. But once he has been introduced to someone as a “play buddy” . . . . I had a black belt friend who owns a landscaping and yard business. Wolffe had met him twice. Wolffe was watching my friend like a hawk. My dh said, “Wolffe is a great guard dog–look how he is watching Steve.” I said, “He’s only watching Steve because he thinks a playmate has arrived.” To settle the matter, I had my dh invite Steve in for lunch. I had made fajitas. We had Steve walk in the front door unannounced. Sure enough, Wolffe brought him is ball. (I really think there are two defensive reasons to have a dog: (1) dogs read people better than humans read people, and (2) if someone breaks in, a dog can give you a 30 second heads up–that’s enough time to wake up, grab your glock and move to a defensive position.

    2. Do you (or did/will you) teach your children or grandchildren self-reliance skills from an early age like I am? What tips and pitfalls can you help other preppers avoid in this area?

    I hope I will have grandchildren and soon! I will teach them everything I know.

    1. I have to pick on you, Bam Bam.

      You hope you have grandkids soon? Geezumpetes! Can it wait until after Saturday?!

      Dogs absolutely DO read people better than we do. I believe dogs see our “aura” (electromagnetic field). I believe this is why they know when we are sick. And why they instantly dislike some people.

      Five years ago, a workman came to our home. 9-yd-old Missy had never bitten anything but food. A workman responded to a call to repair our big a/c unit. Missy did not like him. She followed him and bit him on the foot! I took hervinside with me, locked doors, and grabbed my loaded EDC.

      Nothing happened. Still, I trust my dig.

      “IF MY DIG DOESN’T LIKE YOU, I DON’T LIKE YOU!”

    2. Bam Bam,

      I have four cats and a German Shepherd Dog (GSD). My cat lounge around on the bed all day. They get mad if their meals are served late.

      While are cats are great mousers, they also lounge around a lot in their place of choosing, even if it’s the top of the fridge.
      Having had both cats and dogs for more than 50 years, I can affirm the truth of the Maxim: “Dogs have owners & cats have staff.”

      The Wolffeman is very good at barking when someone unfamiliar knocks at the door.

      This is all you really need from a dog. Their barking is a warning to a potential thug and it gets you from the Unaware state to the Aware state, allowing you to do what needs to be done, including arming yourself and grabbing the phone, just in case your next move is the Alarm state.

    3. Bam Bam,

      I so agree on a dog – except I would wake up and grab my Ruger from the bedside table. Our blue heelers look like vicious guard dogs until they also aptly decide on a person’s character quickly and then jump up and lick them on the mouth and want to play.

      Grandkiddos are so much fun, and the bond you make with them from birth is incredible. Remember that feeling when you saw your baby for the first time – watching your grandchildren come into the world is far more intense and beautiful and exciting – topping that first feeling seems impossible, but it does really happen – such a blessing to look forward to!

      1. Tara,

        I so agree on a dog – except I would wake up and grab my Ruger from the bedside table.

        May I ask which Ruger? I generally have either a P89-DC or a P95-PR somewhere close. Some think these are too heavy for carry and while they have a good point, these have been solid and accurate for my needs.

        1. TOP,

          A Ruger 40C. It took me a year to work up my nerve to move from a .22 to the Ruger Bobby bought me but when I did, I just fell in love with it and wished I had not waited so long to move past a .22 – I shoot everything he has now. Well, except this hip riot gun thing – no clue exactly what it is but it hurts my hand to shoot it – like a shotgun to a shoulder. I recall seeing “Rick” shoot something like it in The Walking Dead. The guy who plays Rick and Bobby look sexy shooting it, but I will pass unless it is the only gun close enough when I need one – which I doubt will ever happen, I keep a handgun in my barn bag, a .22 Henry Lever Action rifle on a case attache to the ATV, and take along my favorite rifle, my AR-15, when I am going deep in the woods where a boar could likely be hanging out. I bought Bobby an AR-15 for Christmas about four years ago and after shooting it once I wanted one so he surprised me with one not long after.

          1. Tara,
            Except for the caliber (.40) the Ruger® SR40c® looks to be very similar to my P89DC & P95 PR, both chambered in 9 mm. As for your hip shooting riot gun, I would not know what that one is. We have one that could be used that way in the Mossberg SA20 tactical. As I’ve gotten older I have moved all of our shotguns to 20 gauge and .410 bore, both of which are sufficient to take down deer or other large targets; but, are less brutal on an old aging body.
            Both handguns are double action; but, the P89 has only a decocker and no safety, while the P95 has all of the standard controls.

      2. Tara and TOP,

        The alarm feature is the one thing I miss about my Chihuahua. Except she didn’t know how to shut up after a reasonable period of alarm time. Personally, I prefer to grab my Sig P228.

        I have a friend who used to have a female Blue Heeler that was hell on wheels towards intruders. I was one of the very few non-family members who could go in the house unaccompanied and not get attacked, although I was still watched. She was a great dog, extremely smart, hated cats and would climb trees after them (unless they were family cats). Sadly, she passed on a couple of years ago a very old dog. My friend has a new Heeler, but she isn’t quite the same. Nice dog, well behaved, but not a serious protector.

        I think you are right about grand kids. I know I really loved my kids (and still do), but I feel differently towards my granddaughter. I have no doubt that I would kill anyone who tried to hurt her. I am very happy to be her caretaker during the week as she is so much fun.

  14. Hi Pack,
    Have been reading intermittently over weekend, but late to party to post..my preps. re: animals. I have an old Jack Russell who usually lets us know if someone is banging on the door…and the chickens give us meat, eggs . have plans to add more, meat animals, but not to that place yet. We will not have cows or horses. goat is a possibility as are hogs and rabbits.
    When my DD was 10 she began cooking most of our meals. She learned to collect the mail and make sure all bills were paid. She learned to assess her health and check her blood sugar and give her supplements to maintain her sugars and health. These were necessities, as I was a single parent @ the time, the lights got cut off once. She also bought the groceries and made out menu’s for a weeks groceries…and learned to shop within a budget. I do not have grand children that are close enough to influence…for now.
    This was a heavy purchase week… I bought jasmine rice,cream of wheat, 10 chicks ordered, medical short term supplements.hair scrungies and clips, bandaids,alcohol and peroxide.Purchased work shirts and big bath towels
    I also worked in the garden preparing for fall plantings, gathered and fertlized and pruned plants . used dawn and DE on bugs….producing now. hauled sawdust loading and unloading with shovel..Had to water this week but temps are cooler.
    Hens are relieved the heat has broken… Took 3 roos to freezer camp, in prep for longer term glass storage. Made up fire ant food and fed them…they love me and i can’t convince them to leave me be.
    We added 4 gallons filtered water to storage and in rotation. filled fuel cans,after rotating out old stores.
    keep On Keeping on! take care of you and yours.. stay alert

    1. Anonamo Also – Please share you fire ant recipe! How does the blue Dawn and DE work out for you? I use both ingredients in my homemade treatments but never just both. Sawdust helps keeps down on weeds and bugs or just weeds>

      1. Tara,
        for Bad bugs.. I mix the dawn a tablespoon or more in a 32 oz sprayer with water,shake, apply to the plants.tops and bottoms of leaves and any fruit/veggies, immature fruit… . everything it will kill, it kills.
        . Immediately behind it while the plants are still damp,… I apply DE dust to underside and tops of all leaves.and fruiting areas but not inside blooms… be sure to treat at the base of the plants with DE for squash bugs/ borers..I scratch soil just a little and put in pretty heavy around roots..
        This is the first time i have used it this way but it seems to be working well… It does not harm most beneficials, as far as I can see.,. not bees, pollinators… certainly,not like the poisons…
        I am using the sawdust as composting material with chicken poop, and grass clippings. We have very little from kitchen scraps and chickens get that. It does suppress the weeds. I put some under these big pots today, so that they would have drainage…about 2-3″ addiional height for what i am planning to cover this fall with clear tunnel.. I will probably putt in the pathways to help control the mud this winter…also use it in my chicken coop as deep litter. The soil is very compact very deep here. My goal is to loosen soil and supress the weeds. I mixed sawdust that was supposed to be 2 years old in a raised bed last year. I got very little veggies,but did get some…. but learned a LOT. I amended a lot! reused that this year and have almost weed free bed it is in…..with diligence to pull out young plants… will loosen further when the sweet potatoes come out .
        Sawdust is one of perferred places that fire ants and termites like. for termites I pour BOILING water on them, before the sawdust is used… takes care of any pronto…
        For Fire ants… I am using Borax and sugar . Mix half and half approx… 4 lbs of each makes 8 lbs.. MIX very well….. to treat mounds…I disturb top of mound with stick/hoe/ just knock off enoug to get them moving good. Then apply liberal to top of mound.(1/2-1 cup). cover with a feed sack or peice of cardboard. weight so will not blow off. leave for one week and re check for acivity. If any activity retreat. can also take a tablespoon and moisten to make a paste with water, sit in lids, in hard to access areas near ant paths to keep out of house. they will come to feed and take back to nests… leave 3 days or more… block off from small children and pets.when they stop coming to feed can move to another location…

        1. Anonamo Also & Tara,
          We use this recipe for all ants:
          Mix one cup warm water with ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons borax. Place it in containers, old bowls or even bottle caps will do, and drip a little over the edge. When the recon ants find it, they will bring back the whole gang to feed.
          In the house you need to keep critters (like our cats) away from the sweet mixture, and you also need to put up with lots of ants for a few days, since they will form a thick line to and from the feeder back to their nest. Eventually they will all just disappear, all dead in the nest.

          1. Thank ya for sharing. I use Borax for a lot of stuff and it always works greats. But, like you noted with indoor critters, we have to be super careful with using it anywhere on our survival homesteading retreat because of my spunky beast and her little brother following us around everywhere and the various free ranging herds and flocks. We are cleaning out one of Bobby’s Kilchereque junk piles at the moment, sorting and stacking away so you actually know what is there, and I came across some fire ants the other day. I think I can devise a way to keep critters out of that little spot long enough to try the Borax-base recipe in between this constant rain we have been getting.

          2. Tara,

            I came across some fire ants the other day. I think I can devise a way to keep critters out of that little spot long enough to try the Borax-base recipe in between this constant rain we have been getting.

            As far as I know Ohio has no Fire Ants; but, we do have other species as described by this article from OSU: Ants In and Around the Home
            https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-2064

          3. Tara,
            My recipe works on the ants we’ve seen in the kitchen, all of which like sugar. If this doesn’t attract your outside ants, you might try adding some bits of meat or grease / oil,

          4. OP, we don’t want to invite fire ants any closer than their mounds. that is why i disturb mounds, treat and cover with feed sack etc weighted down. I need the ants to stay outside and away from my food prep areas. Not invite them into the kitchen! . we use it liquified if we get some in, but place behind the washer/dryer.. no cats …no children.and they really form a mass getting into it.. either way they take it and feed the queen and larvae.. so usually they are dead within a week. occassionally i will have to do a second treatment, depends on size of mound…One was 14″ tall and 2 ft across. it took me 3 applications. but it is gone.

          5. Anonamo Also,
            We have no fire ants here in Ohio, so our treatment is generally for the common little black ant or those little grease ants that already get into the kitchen on occasion.

          6. We had a problem with ants on the kitchen counter ever since we bought this house. Despite my keeping things scrupulously clean, they’d still come in and look around for the odd crumb. A few years back, we also developed a mouse problem. (DH is allergic to cats.). In researching how to repel the mice, I discovered that dried mint will do the trick. Side benefit: No ants since I put the mint down.

        2. This must be a bad year for ants everywhere. I have little tiny ants running rampant on my kitchen counters too. Also in my bathrooms. First time since I moved here almost three years ago.

          #1daughter gave me a couple of ant baits for my kitchen and I bought four more to put in the bathrooms. Active ingredient is borax. The kitchen infestation seems to be slowing down. I think the bathrooms are getting better too, but there were never as many there as in the kitchen.

          I’ll see how it goes over the next few days.

          1. Z36,

            The Borax, sugar, water, and cotton ball soaked and in the center of the small cat food can, do the trick for me every time… I hide it so the cats don’t get into it, but in the ants walking path. I’ve had to do about 3 times so far this year, but not a one for a few of weeks now… Got it already mixed up and ready to go. Make sure the sugar and borax are melted well. I use hot water and stir until dissolved. Ant baits never worked for me.

          2. AT,

            Thanks for the tip. It seems the ant baits my daughter gave me are doing a good job. I haven’t seen any ants on my kitchen counter in several days now. Or in the bathrooms.

  15. As always, love reading everyone’s contributions! I could pontificate on several points…

    As far as raising kids/grandkids…I wasn’t so much into homesteading/prepping while my kids grew up, but they learned to cook, do laundry, and DD in particular learned the importance of a stocked pantry, even if it wasn’t always the healthiest stuff. With the GS, I have always tried to include him in the gardening, and he likes his campfires, and has learned a little about building a fire. He has moved out of our home, but his new home, they are good country folk, so I know they will expand on his outdoor skills.

    As far as animals, don’t take a purebred hunting beagle and try to make them a pet. We’d lost our ‘road dog’ and waited about a year before we were ready for another. We had planned to rescue a sheperd mix when friends called and said we have a puppy for you. We had no clue what we were getting into. I worked at home at the time, and DH was unemployed. So the dog had someone home 24/7. Now that he is older, and things have changed, kids moved out, this little stink has gotten out of the fenced in yard 3 times in as many days, by means that could have hurt him (moving the flashing of the aluminum siding on the garage).

    Next year, I will be going with tomato cages rather than the posts I bought this year. I have to tie the plants up more nearly every other day. And some of the stakes are leaning from the weight. Chicken wire ain’t gonna cut it either, will need a larger gauge wire to be planted with the starts. Learning curve since I started heirloom seeds for the first time this year and am pretty pleased with the varieties I chose.

    Just saw a piece on the local news about a guy getting false texts about his polling place changing here in OH for the special election. Makes one wonder. I don’t talk politics much, but know that we mostly have similar opinions here. And know that we can also have differing political opinions, discuss them as adults, and also have much more else in common.

    Other than tending the garden and awaiting the onslaught of fresh veg, not much other prepping done here. Heading on vacation in a couple weeks, going to be camping while attending a NASCAR race, combining our favorite things! Bet my maters all go ripe while we are gone LOL!

    Heartfelt thoughts and prayers for all of the group (should we still call ourselves the Pack, or should we take on another moniker?)

  16. Hello Pack,

    If any of you have struggled with yellow jacket issues this summer like we have on our homesteading survival retreat, I wrote a piece for Dan on his other blog, New Life On A Homestead, with a how to section to get rid of them. Many of the things y’all experienced preppers may already know, but since there could be a new tidbit of two on the list, I wanted to share the link in case the info. was useful. The only good thing I can think of to say about yellow jackets is that they devour Japanese beetles, lol. https://www.newlifeonahomestead.com/yellowjackets/

  17. Hey, Tribe! I have a question. I don’t want to come across as a troublemaker, but…does anyone else find having to scroll through all the weeks’ postings to get to the current week cumbersome?

    Tara & Dan: is it possible to separate the weeks out?

    And, while we’re here, is it possible to use posting dates rather than week numbers to identify?

    Thank you for ALL you do!

    1. Livinthedream,

      Hey, Tribe! I have a question. I don’t want to come across as a troublemaker, but…does anyone else find having to scroll through all the weeks’ postings to get to the current week cumbersome?

      You a troublemaker? Nah!!!! LOL.
      To be honest I don’t understand your problem and request; but, I’m using a desktop computer with a 32 inch curved monitor, so what I see might be different than a tablet or phone. I try to get in early enough to make a post so I get the follow-up email and then deal with those few I’ve missed, managing follow-up comments as they trickle in via email.
      I also get new post announcements by email.

      And, while we’re here, is it possible to use posting dates rather than week numbers to identify?

      While I’ve adjusted to the new week vs. date arrangement, I agree that the date would allow one to more easily see if they are on top of things or a bit behind, especially as we add new members to the group.

      Thank you for ALL you do!

      I could not agree more. When we lost our long time home, these folks stepped up quickly, and I think we are all in their debt.

    2. LTD, I will pass the suggestion onto Dan now. I think listing the “What I Did” posts with a date on it alone or also, should be simple, but not sure about the rest since that is on the publishing formatting end.

    3. Hi,

      Yes to adding the date to the title and featured image.

      As for the other issue, right above each article title, you’ll see the category, namely “What I Did to Prep This Week”, which will take you to a post with only the weekly preps articles with the newest ones at the top:

      https://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/category/what-i-did-to-prep-this-week/

      ^^ you could bookmark the above link in your browser as it will update itself with the latest weekly preps issue as soon as it’s live.

  18. Just noticed a hole in our preps. We have 4 or 5 air mattresses, but only an electric inflater. If grid down and family descends, I don’t want to have to blow up all those suckers on my own! Just bought a manual air pump. Problem solved.

    1. Bwahahaha, MaineBrain, we did the same thing last year! They are so much easier to use than the old bicycle tire pumps we all grew up with! Not sure how long they will last, with all the plastic parts tho….

      1. Haha, Grammy, I’m old enough to have skated on roller skates that required a skate key. The kind that clamped on to your shoes– we had a few pairs of them, and after a while, I figured out which skates clamped on best to which of my shoes, That song “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key” — Works with kids these days like buggy whips, telegrams and vinyl albums. Oh wait, vinyl albums are making a comeback!

        1. MaineBrain,

          Grammy, I’m old enough to have skated on roller skates that required a skate key. The kind that clamped on to your shoes– we had a few pairs of them, and after a while, I figured out which skates clamped on best to which of my shoes, That song “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key” — Works with kids these days like buggy whips, telegrams and vinyl albums. Oh wait, vinyl albums are making a comeback!

          I grew up on those clamp on roller skates that even work on tennis shoes by cutting an elastic band from an old bicycle tire to hold the toes in place. When I started driving, roller skating was a big thing in my life and community so I purchased rink skates and the old metal clamp on skates were torn apart and screwed to boards to make skate boards.
          The DW & I met through roller skating that we did with an adult group several times per week for years, and the DD had many of her birthday parties at the local rink. I’m in the process of resurrecting my good skates, which is primarily getting the leather boots back in shape and a little cleaning and oiling of the wheel bearings. I have the tools to remove the bearings from the wheels and press them back into place.
          Our biggest problem now is that the half dozen or so rinks we used to haunt when dating and in our early years of marriage, are mostly now gone. For me, roller skating was fun exercise; but, I guess it can no longer compete with video games.
          I recently disposed of my last two turntables; but, do have some vinyl albums I’m trying to unload.

    2. MaineBrain,

      Just noticed a hole in our preps. We have 4 or 5 air mattresses, but only an electric inflater. If grid down and family descends, I don’t want to have to blow up all those suckers on my own! Just bought a manual air pump. Problem solved.

      We have numerous older air mattresses that used a foot pump that we still have around. We also have a few air beds with an integrated pump; but, they use little power and could run on an inverter if the generator is running. As part of my Ryobi ONE+ battery powered tools, we also have the inflator / deflator that can work on everything from air mattresses to vehicle tires. Backups to backups to backups.

      1. TOP, looks like I got kicked off the other site too. Guess they don’t like preppers over there…LOL

        Or maybe puppies…..LOL Funny didn’t say anything bad, maybe just because I post over here too.

  19. Y’all are telling your ant stories…I am SO glad I wasn’t home when this happened…

    We only opened the popup one time last year. So, preparing for our vacation and needing to flea bomb the house, it was time. DH did it while I was at work.There were 3 different nests of the big black ants…under both mattresses, and in the seat where all the electrical works are…He said it was pretty gross…Sorry, but chemicals were necessary…Luckily, the mattresses weren’t damaged ( but noted a couple small spots that mice must have chewed). None of the wood was damaged, but there were a few wet spots that we needed to treat with Killz.

    We deal with ‘piss ants’ (sugar ants) every spring, and sometimes in the fall. Peppermint oil usually works well. I have to carefully watch the furbaby’s food/water during that time, cuz he’s a slobby bobby eater/drinker, and that is usually where they are found.

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