What I Did to Prep This Week

What I Did To Prep This Week – Week 77: December 29th 2019 – January 4th 2020

baofeng radio

Hello Pack! Happy New Year and new decade! I hope you are all keeping warm and spending plenty of time working on perfecting your survival plan and preps. Because winter is such a long semi-down time on the survival homestead, we call this our “planning season” and have so much fun planning for the spring and summer … before all the hard yet fun outdoor work begins anew.

I am about to start taking HAM radio classes. My Bobby got me a HAM radio for Christmas, and I am excited to learn how to use and and connect with others. My beloved purchased an antenna called a “whip antenna” that is super durable and extremely tall to help ensure better reception on and around our wooded homestead.

I am sure there are copious amounts of preppers out there on the radio waves. Of course, when the SHTF possessing a license will not be a priority, but as of now, it is.

Bobby got me a HAM radio that is compatible with all the other Baofeng radios our tribe already uses. We are constantly on the lookout for bargains to add to our radio stash, and the online auction I mentioned previously has been an awesome find for doing just that.

The radios are hardy, but we use them daily around our 56-acre survival homestead because cell service is non-existent in most spots – which suits me just fine. We keep several boxes of new radios properly houses inside of a Faraday cage at all times, along with space parts to do repairs.

In other exciting news, Bobby is now officially semi-retired and will be working from home instead of his office in town – which we sold along with our last rental house. Y’all can’t see it through the computer, but I am doing cartwheels over both exciting pieces of news.

I have long looked forward to Bobby working from a home office, and being able to spend more time on our survival retreat. He will still be on the road in the tri-county area doing real estate appraisals, but only a few days a week now, and no more Saturday inspections or reports writing!

He will still need to run to town for coffee with his dad each morning, that is too valuable of a daily meeting to skip, but other than that he can finally enjoy as much tractor and gardening time as his lower back can stand.

The trip to town is roughly six minutes, so he won’t be gone long or can easily walk home or wait for me to arrive on horseback with his horse in tow, if the SHTF while he is gone.

The male baby kid we kept from Pearl’s last kidding in shaping up to be a fine goat. I think he is going to have the best of both is parent’s character and physical traits and should be a breeder of champion goats once he matures.

Hooper – named so after Burt Reynold’s character in that fun old movie because his antics cause us to think of his as a “stunt goat” will likely become a breeder division 4-H project for a tribe member’s child.

If you have children or grandchildren in your prepping tribe, 4-H is absolutely a great way to teach them homesteading, survival, and self-reliance skills – I simply cannot recommend in becoming involved with the organization too highly.

In other preps this week, we are still working on our annual end of the year – beginning of the year complete inventories of all our survival homesteading preps both large and small, livestock worming, and prepping projects for the year planning.

I am keenly focused on the spring garden at the moment and have already added to our indoor growing and seed starting operation now that the Christmas tree is down and I can set up another table and more grow lights.

This Week’s Questions:

  1. What type of radios do you use for your communications plan?
  2. Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer?
  3. Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why?
  4. Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why?
  5. What did you do to prep this week?

Dan’s Note

As you probably know, The Ohio Prepper passed away on New Year’s Eve… One of the most treasured member of the Pack, someone who’s always had useful insights about all aspects of prepping and politics – a beacon not just of knowledge but of experience.

I thought it’d be a nice gesture to copy-paste his last reply on this website from a couple of days before the event:


i heard about a couple shootings on public radio this morning, the first was about a church in texas where a man in a trench coat pulled out a rifle and started shooting, only to be quickly shot down by volunteer security

Public radio? I’m surprised they even covered such an event.
Actually the guy who started it was using a shotgun and did get off shots killing 2 parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX near Fort Worth.
Texas legislators passed the law allowing concealed carry in churches after 26 people were killed in an attack at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs outside San Antonio about 2 years ago. Joe Biden criticized Texas politicians when that law was passed, which IMHO makes him not only corrupt, senile and stupid; but, dangerous.
Ohio already has provisions for carrying in churches, with permission of the management.
The attack on the kosher grocery in NYC was only one incident, with the most recent a machete attack on a group at the home of a Rabbi. People at that gathering tried to fend off the attacker with chairs and other items, since NYC only allows police and the politically connected to have firearms, making the city quite safe, at least for criminals.
I have been very heartened to see interviews with law enforcement from all stripes and regions discussing the Texas shooting & response, repeat something many of us have often said: ”It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Another of my favorites concerns self defense vs. calling 911 and hoping for help.
”If you call 911, remember. When seconds count, help is only minutes away.”

Rest in peace, TOP… everyone will miss you 🙁

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 →

108 thoughts on “What I Did To Prep This Week – Week 77: December 29th 2019 – January 4th 2020

        1. Very classy move Thor, a great way to honor such a pivotal member of the Pack. I am sure he would be pleased.

          1. Tara, thanks I would like to think so. His honor and this site of classy preppers demanded it in MHO….. I think we’re all family here.

    1. While I never met TOP, he was a good guy who loved to debate things. He called himself a Spelling NAZI and we went round and round sometimes and he loved it. He even said so. I liked the one that referenced Monty Pythons Holy Grail ,when I referenced Top as the black knight. LOL

      Top thanks for all of your knowledge and wit.


    2. For my best TOP story was when I was trying to figure out how to set up a 15 lb propane tank to my 30,000 BTU Mr Heater for auxiliary heat. It was going to take a few extra parts, hoses, adapters to get it to work. I was at Lowe’s trying to explain the set up to the staff there, and they would find all the parts, and I numbered them in the order of set up and took pictures. I called TOP and he had me send the pics to his e-mail, and then confirmed if it was correct or not, all while I was still in Lowe’s.

      Another was when I was in GW, and there was a battery UPS (Uninterruptible Battery Supply) for sale. He used to always mention how he has UPS’s that would last a little while for lighting, computer, etc if the power went out. I called him while I was there, and read off the model, etc, and he told me that it wasn’t the kind I needed.

      He told us about Woot, and I told him about Wish… 🙂

      He was a legend in his time… For sure with the Pack.

      RIP TOP.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    Very sad to learn of TOP’s passing. I will be sending a card (I have his mailing address from him sending some “feet” to me for my propane heater since he wall mounted his and I had bought mine used) and if you would like for me to sign your blog name to it, just let me know. I will be sending it on Thursday to give everyone a chance to read the blog and let me know. My “Woot” e-mails have another meaning now. He will surely be missed by many.

    Not much organizing this week. Tried to work in the shed, but my collarbone area is still sore from lifting those beams. Can’t lift much.

    Went to the local ARRL meeting to learn some more about ham radios.

    Received the books I ordered on how to make herbal poultices, compresses and antibiotics.

    I bought a vintage Townecraft food chopper off of eBay for $24 (including shipping) that was recommended by a friend, as we were talking about making homemade laundry soap. She uses it to chop up the bars of soap and cabbage for sauerkraut. It came in yesterday. Quality product and stainless steel.

    Went to the local monthly Republican meeting yesterday and our State Rep was the speaker. We weren’t happy with his proposal for the State Medicaid “expansion” that he said wasn’t an expansion. He didn’t want to listen to us, so it may be time for him to go. I met a lot friendly people while there, and will go back next month.

    Tara’s questions:

    What type of radios do you use for your communications plan? BaoFeng UV -82HP radio

    Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer? I have my tech license

    Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why? Many things will be new since I am still a novice at gardening.

    Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why? So far, it has been in the ground or container. Want to make some raised beds before spring.

    Prayers for unspoken requests, for TOP’s family, for The President and for America. WOW. We really need prayers for protection. I have a feeling this year is going to be rough in many ways, food, politics, and safety.

    Have a great week everyone. Stay alert.

    1. AT,

      Thanks for organizing a group card. I do have TOP’s address and will be sending a card of my own. I’m selfish like that. 🙂

    2. AT,

      Please add my name to the card if you would be so kind.
      TOP and I exchanged sentiments in many post of the last few years. I often listened in on his Thursday evening Ham net and even though I never communicated with him directly, his input has great effect on my views and plans.
      RIP 73 OM, DE N5GWU SK SK

    3. AT
      Would you please add me also to that card.

      I did send a note to TOP’s email address to Mrs. TOP. I have notified Michele, Worrisome, Jeff in the West. I was given permission to post on the old site to let those who knew him of his passing.

      Dang we never met, and I feel like I did when I lost my brother.

    4. AT, please sign my name on card for Mrs.TOP. If possible Include ..: “Thanks for sharing him,:his quick wit, determined knowledge ,dedication and time with us all. We are all sorry for the loss of your beloved. We will miss him. Our hearts ache for your grief. We will continue to remember you and family in prayer as this change in all your lives continue.”

    5. Almost There,
      Please add me to the card. I have communicated with OP via private email and he was always so special. I’m so sad to hear of his passing.

    6. Please sign my name to the card as well. We emailed back and forth quite a few times and talked about doing a meet since we lived close (in country people terms) but hadn’t gotten to do that yet. I hope his family knows how much his online prepping pals with miss him.

  2. Puppy told me his IQ is higher than Joe Biden’s. He also said his legs are hairier too…LOL

    Charged and did maintenance on 3 car batteries.
    Charged the Kodiak solar generator.

    Indoor garden
    One Serrano pepper plant has a ripe pepper.
    The fresh cilantro is growing good.
    The fresh spinach is growing good.
    The added grow light is really working.

    Tested the reception on the baofeng UV -5r with NOAA in the Jeep with windows up. Success.
    Put 2 baofengs in the Faraday cage with the 4 CB’s and 4 cobra FRS/GMRS

    Practiced with the Magnum handguns at the range. Love that model 629

    Martial arts
    Practiced and taught pressure points.

    Still doing heavy cross training. Muscles are screaming and have lost 10lbs.

    Thor’s questions:
    1.Do you have a Faraday cage and or bags for your sensitive electronics?
    2.If there was a quarantine for a pandemic, how long could you remain indoors?
    3. Do you think Iran will do a physical and cyber attacking on US soil?
    4. Do you keep your fuel tanks as full as possible?

    1. Tara’s questions

      1.What type of radios do you use for your communications plan?
      2.Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer?
      3.Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why?
      4.Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why?

      1. 4 CBs base, vehicle and 2 handhelds. 3 ham handhelds, 4 FRS/GMRS. Police scanner ànd a solar /hand crank Am FM SW receiver.
      2. Not licensed at this time but soon.
      3. Maybe I have a lot of seeds
      4. Ground plot, raised bed, indoor container, soon greenhouse. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.,..

    2. Thor’s questions:

      1.Do you have a Faraday cage and or bags for your sensitive electronics?

      Yes, I have a Faraday cage (large plastic box actually).

      2.If there was a quarantine for a pandemic, how long could you remain indoors?

      As long as I had food and water. If I could fill my WaterBOB, probably six-months or more. Water is really the limiting factor. I can filter more but getting to it is another thing. It also depends on the what disease is involved in the pandemic.

      3. Do you think Iran will do a physical and cyber attacking on US soil?

      Hard to say with those mental cases. I think they have a good idea Trump means what he says about having 52 targets already lined up, so whatever they do, they are going to try to use proxy’s (or cutouts) that they don’t think we know about. I’d like to see them try something blatant and find out what the 52 targets actually are.

      4. Do you keep your fuel tanks as full as possible?

      Yes, I try to stay at ¾ or more. Currently, I’m full.

      1. Z36, I’m not sure a plastic container would work as a Faraday cage. Old school says metal outer surface insulated inner. Top said to groundd it also, bond the edges and use metal tape.

        1. Thor1,

          The box is the insulated part. It is wrapped in four layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil bound with aluminum tape. Electrically grounding it is not required, OK to do, but optional.

          1. Thor1 and Zulu 3-6:

            I use “short 40” ammo cans for storing radios, mostly because the are larger and too heavy if I fill them with ammo.

    3. Thor’s questions:
      1.no, but i also don’t have sensative electronics to worry about, if they all went down it would be booring but not a real loss. i have considered picking up a broken microwave or 2 and putting a spare laptop, charge regulator for the solar array and an inverter in them but haven’t done it yet, usually can’t haul them home (i have several spare laptops, i despise windows 8 and 10 with a passion, and getting new win 7 laptops ain’t happening, so i got a stack of broken ones in an auction and my tech friend helped me turn them into a couple working laptops, keep 1 as y working laptop and have several spares for whenever the working one dies)

      2.by indoors i would assume that to be isolated on my homestead. in the cabin not very long as the water supply is outside (have to carry buckets in, inconvinient yes but it also means my cabin cannot be classed as a dwelling, therefor its not taxable so my land taxes are almost nothing. as is i have enough food to last e 2 and a half years, plus seeds and all the resources to plant and preserve so could probably stretch it out 5 years or more.

      3. nope, in a war they would lose very quickly like iraq did, and they know it, they will keep up sabre rattling and peacocking but won’t actully do anything to take it that far.

      4. yes but i burn through it fast, especially when i am logging, been going through 5 gallons of chainsaw gas a week and maybe 7 in the tractor, plowing and planting type work might only use 8 gallons a year, generator maybe 2 gallons a month in the winter when less daylight hours and nothing in the summer. when my current logging is done it will be forever (unless i buy ore land or get perission to log neibghbors land, as i only have 4 milling size pine left standing, and less than an acre worth of hardwood to cut, then it will be just 14 acres open field, with a smaller 4 acre wooded area with just maples and apples, more valuable standing than cut and open spots for gardens between them, and then another 8 acres of crap thats not worth doing much with, all scrub, will meet my personal needs but never provide millable materials or sufficent volumes for firewood sales. once the 14 acres are made hayable i will probably use more fuel in summer but still nothing close to logging fuel used.

  3. I did my low-carb grocery shopping this week. Added a little to my stash as usual. Did some weekly cooking.

    Sad week for the pack with TOP passing away. I will miss his posts among other things we shared by email and phone. Prayers outbound for his family and other friends. ☹

    I spoke with a retired Green Beret friend about the UN job posting for DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION OFFICER. After he had a chance to read over the job description, his feeling is that it won’t have much affect on internal US affairs. His thoughts were that Green Berets used to be taught in training that the most dangerous phase of assisting a local insurgency was the DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION Phase (note the wording is exactly the same as the UN job title). The insurgents were not usually interested in giving back the bigger arms, such as Stinger missiles, etc. If the A-Team pressed the issue, there could be a nasty gun fight that the A-Team probably would not win. Afghanistan after the Soviets left was an example he gave (except it was CIA teams, not Green Beanies, but the upshot is exactly the same).

    For now, I don’t think it’s anything worth losing sleep over, but it does bear watching. The Virginia kerfuffle requires closer watching right now, as does Iran. I think Trump did the absolute right thing in whacking that nutjob Iranian “general.”

    Otherwise, it was another slow prepping week for me. I had granddaughter for four full days and although she is very well behaved, she is also becoming insistent that we do more things together, even if it’s just sitting on the couch watching Duck Tales DVDs, over and over and over. At least it isn’t Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Also, she is backsliding a little on her potty training, but that wasn’t unexpected.

    I did order a laser rangefinder. Why? I dunno. It isn’t an expensive model, but it does work nicely. No backlit display, so night use will be tough. It is a UV laser, so invisible to the naked eye, but quite visible to night vision devices.

    Tara’s Questions:

    1. What type of radios do you use for your communications plan?

    I have Baofeng BF-F8HP handhelds with several different antennas to mount on the radios and various accessories, plus a J-pole antenna for hanging from a tree or something to allow more range. I also have a pair of General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) handhelds and a small GMRS mobile radio. I also have a few Family Radio Service handhelds. The GMRS and FRS radios are pretty limited in range, but they are OK for general talk-around. I keep a couple of ham radios in a Faraday cage. I also have a CB handheld and a vehicle mount antenna for it, a police scanner (which is kind of useless as everybody and their brother uses trunked systems around here). I also have several AM/FM/Weather radios with hand cranks, batteries, etc. I also have a trained Marine sergeant’s voice. 😊

    2. Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer?

    I am a licensed ham, General class, call: KM4ZJB. I also have a GMRS license, call: WRDT671. FRS does not require a license. TOP did help teach new hams with his radio club.

    3. Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why?

    No. No suitable place to garden.

    4. Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why?

    One way, called Publix. 😊

    5. What did you do to prep this week?

    See above.

      1. Thor1,

        I think you’re old enough to remember when Iran was holding our embassy staff prisoner. Jimmy Carter did very little except send people who were ill equipped to do the rescue mission (sad to say, it was mostly the aviation Marines involved). That, and a healthy dose of “me too” on the part of the military branches.

        Anyway, after Reagan was elected, the joke going around was “What is flat, black, and glows in the dark? Iran, the day after Reagan is sworn in.” Of course, it never went that far, the Iranians obviously realizing they had played the game as far as they could, released our people the day of Reagan’s inauguration. Just before he was sworn in.

        Evidently, the current crop of “leaders” doesn’t have the sense to realize they have pushed Trump as far as he means to go.

          1. Thor1,

            It doesn’t really make my blood boil as it is the expected kind of crap from the CCP. As I said about the UN job posting; its not worth losing a lot of sleep over, yet, but it does bear watching.

        1. Z36, its all coming together on why they are going after Trump. It all makes sense why WWIII is about to start. Russian collusion, arms dealing and Democrats all tied together with Ukraine and Iran.


          The Russians were selling arms and weapons of mass destruction to Iran through the Ukraine.

          The arms deal that went bad in Benghazi and why our military was told to stand down was due to the Administration. Hillary and Obama. Ambassador Stevens was going to expose them and was killed. This makes sense as to why Hillary said that they would all be swinging from nooses if Trump got elected.

          Here is why Iran and the rest of the middle east hate America so much. As you are a history buff.


          One more thing….What if the Iranian General was not actually known to be in the car by Trump, but the deep state knew he was and would start WWIII ? If there were GPS trackers on the cars and they knew the leader of the Iraqi militia was in one?

          Setup for a coverup.

          Your thoughts…..

          1. Thor1,

            Well, it hasn’t been a big secret that Russia has been selling arms to Iran. Israel has already blown up a couple of their newest anti-air missile systems in Syria, and we may have too. WMD? I’m not sure about that.

            With Iran we are dealing with Shiite Muslims. Even other Muslims worry about them. As they are a minority in Islam, they carry a big chip on their shoulders, and have always been more aggressive than Sunni. Which isn’t to say Sunnis are not aggressive themselves. It’s all relative.

            I think Obama, Hillery, et al, were most interested in getting personally rich. They figured once Hillary was Prez, and the Dims held the House and Senate, the US would fall into their socialist laps. Didn’t work out that way (thank God).

            The Libs hate Trump, they fear Trump, so they are working to keep him on his back foot. Thus all of the impeachment nonsense, and all the other crap they sling at him.

            As far as the Muslims hating the US, that is all a “religious” thing. Hate the infidel, kill the infidel, etc. They hate everyone that isn’t them, and they even hate each other for the same reason. If the Libs think the Muslims will be so grateful to them that the Muslims will leave their socialist utopia alone, they are seriously deluding themselves.

            As far as that late, not-lamented Iranian general is concerned, the US already said they used a combination of human intelligence, satellite intel, phone intercepts, drone surveillance, etc. Think too that the drones we use, have camera systems so incredibly good that they could, and probably did, pick out whatshisface getting into a car, and watching that car as it left to make certain he didn’t get out. In fact, they may have been able to even see him in the car. Target identified. Next step, Hellfires.

        2. I was a little girl when that happened but watched the news with my parents … and my baby dolls. My brothers had graduated high school, they were a lot older, and I distinctly remember being worried they would get drafted. Prayed each night that they would not. I thought that one of my brothers might stay say because he was working at the phone company and could be a Radar O’Reilly like on MASH – I was only five to 7 at the time.

          1. Relative to the embassy hostages back in 1979, I was attending some Professional Military Education with some really higher level airman and we were so shocked and upset about the whole thing, that we just sat around saying we needed to “nuke them til they glow”. That was our mantra until they hostages were released. We could not understand how our country could be held hostage like that. I do think President Trump will allow something like that to happen again.

          2. Tara,

            I guess you’re quite a bit younger than me. I was in the Air National Guard then and had about 9-years of service between the Guard and the Marines. No one in the military had any respect for Carter.

  4. I am slammed with work this weekend. The new term starts Monday. I am really behind with my work, with dh’s heart attack and my pneumonia. I have been putting in 12 hour days. Dh continues to improve. He still has the catheter in. He goes to see the urologist in two weeks to have his prostate examined. We have switched to a whole foods, vegetable based diet. He has lost 25 lbs. in three weeks. (He has another 40 lbs. to lose before he can get out of the obese category.) I have lost 6 lbs. With the new way of eating, the pounds are just dropping off effortlessly.

    I can’t believe I ever lived without an instant pot. So far have made Cuban black beans, brown rice, a whole chicken, green lentils, wheat berries, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and banana, nut quinoa and a sugar-free. cheesecake. The banana, nut quinoa is now our favorite recipe. You just throw the stuff in the pot, set the timer, seal the lid and let it go. No watching the stove, no stirring, no anything. If you are looking to switch to a healthier diet or what to spend less time in the kitchen, I totally recommend the instant pot. Now I make batches of staples every week and serve a buffet for dinner.

    1. Bam Bam, glad you are feeling better, and glad your dh is getting better. He will feel much better once. He gets that catheter removed. Continued prayers your way.

    2. Bam Bam, DH had an issue , Used “Prostate Revive”.. It worked w/ in 2-3 hours of first dose. He was able to come off of 2 expensive pharma drugs with a combined out of pocket /mo/ 600$ was Avodart, Proscar. He tried all kinds of natural products, This was his key.

  5. Hi everyone,

    I’ve been busy at work and off the site, not having visited in some time. For that, I’m sorry. I’ve just learned of TOPs passing. This old grunt isn’t ashamed to say my eyes are watering and I’m really sad. If you’d like to sign the card, please add me. His wife will be in my prayers. If she needs help, I’m ready to head over. His daughter is welcome to contact me as well, given that she’s here in Mass.

    My trip to Tennessee was more of a working vacation. I’m sorry I didn’t get to visit with Babycatcher and Almost There. I’ll head back in a few months. I did, out of necessity, meet a pair of honest mechanics. I have more friends there now. I also went to the local lodge and will affiliate with them. Great guys. They were happy to have a visitor, even if I’m a Yankee.

    New puppy (Eva) is a Rottweiler. She was immediately protective of her new family and bonded very closely with Mrs. Overwatch. She’s six months old and watches over the little guy like a mother hen.

    God bless you, OP. Life is short. Stay close.

  6. Not much this week. In the process of putting up a layer of plastic inside the greenhouse (roof only) I discovered that one of the panels has holes in it, I believe from the hailstorm last fall. The inside plastic is on hold until I can get that replaced/repaired. Unfortunately my brain has gone into full-on planting mode, and I’m trying to keep that under control until at least the end of January. I’ll probably plant the sweet potato seeds, since they grow slowly.

    1) What type of radios do you use for your communications plan? I haven’t had the resources to address this yet.
    2) Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer? Nope
    3) Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why? I always try something new. I think this year it will be amaranth, but I have landrace seeds for sweet corn as well. I have more varieties to add to the watermelon landrace and more dry bean varieties. I’ll also be growing chia in the greenhouse.
    3) Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why? Ground plot, greenhouse, container, food forest (nascent), wicking tubs (started that last year), natural hydroponics (working out the details, started that last summer as well). Straw bale really doesn’t work well here without a great deal of water, although the straw makes a great mulch after the strawbale garden fails. I’m not sure what you mean by “portal.” I try to learn as many different techniques as possible because I never know which are going to work best. Late spring, early spring, lower than usual temperatures, water availability, they all make a difference. I want to be able to eat no matter what.

    1. Lauren…

      Eat no matter what… True for sure. Just like I want to be able to cook no matter what… Gotta have the food, no matter what, in order to cook the food, no matter what..

    2. Lauren, AT , and others…answering questions/concerns.
      We had some fiberglass panels with a few holes… used for a roof of hen run..dripped in the feed. we stopped the leak with household silicone – the kind used in bathtub repair… comes in clear.If only few places might save you a lot of money , time and effort…and veggies.
      You are not the only one w/o resources to address radio’s. is on our radar to do so..many things are pressing harder… so do not feel like you are the only one..
      .we do. have a weather radio and couple of old CB units, jumpers and car battery would be a backup/ we have a couple of new /small inverters / batteries and light bulbs to be put in farday .. have smll area where they are/should be secure given the instructions and methods done.
      ….AT,… shoulder injuries are tough. I am finally getting strength in the ligament i injured about 4 months ago initially and kept re hurting, (finally tore )possible i may have strength in tissue just in time to do much of hard work of gardening.. planning is definitely in progress and things staged in preps…..No MAG @ present. . ..think that would come first for short range communication options. Rural has both advantages and disadvantages..one of the last is distance from LMI- and that happens even in the city. In Life Changing Event (LCE) I have two neighbors with some level of preparedness. One is/would be a group alone. The other has been a good neighbor… Others are further away- too far for this old arthritic to be walking- except in an emergency. Thanks to many comments here, I have been working on fitness and strengthening. Progress is made, not enough … ongoing.
      I had an Uncle-45-50 years ago did straw bale tomatoes.He put his treated bales in a hardpan dirt trench, about 8-10 inches deep. Hard red clay…it retained water.(He still watered at least once a day.).. effectively he used the bales for wicking bed.. dug out a hole in it to plant in composted manure from chickens.. epsom salts.. His tomatoes were 3 -4 ft above his head, and he was well over 6 ft. They produced beautiful huge slicers.
      I did not know what Tara meant by “Portal” gardening either..Wiki not informative.. I have looked at Hugelkultur and Keyhole gardens. Have not done either yet . Both are planned for long term solutions. to problems we have with drainage.Infrastructure construction must be completed before either can be done.
      WHY? I too am trying to grow as many different locations, inside, outside ..methods as is possible for my situation.sprouting, starting own plants, avoiding pesticides, insecticides, commercial fertilizers… I like food, I like to eat. I Do not EVER want to be in a situation Again, where I do not know where my next meals are coming from or to be hungry.
      Greenhouse has been purchased and delivered, shade cloth is necessary for it in summer here.
      ….raised beds are present and very useful for our location..My sweetpotatoes did very well last 2 years, expansion for that bed is planned before planting time..Late okra did well for the few weeks it was productive… early okra a burgundy did ok, just insufficient amount.. ( ordered a different heirloom for coming year. going with a short fat one for frying/gumbo use. will triple planting space and do specific spacing. . in ground gardening area is limited…
      I want to add more root vegetables this year,..beets, carrots, potatoes and turnips. for starters. Will have to increase raised beds/pots substantially. All soils must be built or imported…for this purpose..Will do some kind of melons/ cantaloupe. a few watermelon. cukes… more veggies with a salsa garden as goal… .regrowth of celery and onions- successful.
      wicking tubs were done past year… tomatoes/Peppers received too much sun.- shadecloth /alternate location will be necessary this year.Got initial start of walking onions and garlic./for this location. Select herbals interplanted… more flowers to be added this year..
      Have trialed Tatuma squash(produced well, run on ground.), and Ga Bakers.( planted too late.climb- require very long season-. )both can be used for winter keepers.Acorn squash were already prolific.attacked by squash bugs. destroyed quickly.
      Re: Grains, grasses…. I have some Amaranth that is supposed to produce up to one pound of seed per plant.. grain the goal of it(possible flour replacement), not the greens which can be eaten, prob. will feedmost leaves to rabbits. .. and then be vegan by proxy.. Amaranth could cross pollinate with wild greens. Those we had in abundance…need to replant some areas…use these for Rabbits.along with honeysuckle, crabgrass and fescue yard grasses. On a search: crabgrass, at certain stages has a higher protein than the feed pellets. Rabbits also like sweetpotato vines and up to 1/3 of leaves from each can be harvested for humans or rabbits.and not interfere with tuber formation… very young taste ok-I prefer them cooked.

      , HAM would be nice,to communicate with those who have, distance . DH’s brother has a couple of units…. just not an immediate thing…DH is interested…so may happen this summer.
      ….. We could stay isolated on our property for a good while. We often remain home for up to a couple of weeks @ a time when illness is prevalent. I am transferring canned goods into dehydrated. with current projects is fruit. dehydration of potatoes, sweetpotatoes experimented with and solutions found.
      ….Bad actors may decide to try anything/ anywhere/anytime.
      … That is why we Pray for the Best and Prepare for the worst. If our worst is being blown to bits and we are prepared for that, Then God and I CAN handle ALL else. Prayers for the President, and his helpers, the pack and family members, for the survival [email protected] large,, our farmers..and the clueless.
      ..Take care of Yourselves, take care of those you love. Keep on Keeping On.

      1. As far as keyhole gardens, one thing to be aware of is that they should be on FLAT ground. I created one in an area no one was using, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The plants on the edge were thriving while everything else died.

        Gravity, of course. I was watering through the “keyhole,” and the water ran downhill through all the layers along the existing soil. It might be different this year, now that the garden has had time to settle.

        The panels are still under warranty, so I’ll be trying that angle first. If not, I’ll fill the holes. I also have a panel on the north side that will eventually be replaced with a solid backing of some kind. That will have to wait until summer, though.

        1. Lauren, Do you have Morning Glory there? friend brought it up that Sweetpotato COULD cross pollinate with that.. so might want to avoid that flower , and NOT plant morning glory , if you do not already have it….

          1. The neighbors all have morning glory (bindweed, not the decorative annual) but I’ve managed to keep it out so far. While they are in the same family, my research says they’re too far apart genetically to cross. Which may or may not be true, but bindweed is the only wild relative in the area and I choose not to grow morning glory flowers.

  7. Tara’s questions

    1 i barelly tollerate a cell phone sometimes (it will be out of service in about a week then i won’t hav one again till the summer maybe, and no other way to go online so won’t be here for a long stretch), anyway i got nobody to talk to that i can’t walk to see in person (and i regularly walk 15 miles to town just to bs with a friend and ask him for a ride back)

    2 my uncle ant was a ham opperator, he was with the government in the 80s listening to soviet communications in the arctic, then his mind went bye bye an he was shipped home in a stait jacket ranting about “the general”, he was a ham opperator through the 90s then was inactive then had a falling out with me when the voices in his shoes told him i was plotting to steal his garbage. thats unfortunatly the only person i knew who was involvedwith ham radio.

    3 i have a lot planned this year, i skipped garden in 2019 because the 2018 one failed from high acidity and flooding, 2019 i rented equipment to put in ditches an pull stumps and rocks, this year i have a tight budget but should be able to get lime for the acidity before i plow up the soil. got about an acre that will be cultivated, and a lot of stuff to plant, for fresh use, selling, and preserving. been tight on money this winter and to cut back in my budget (because i loaned money to a friend to save his ass from a financial catastrophy i went from having enough to last a year to having barelly enough to get by) i been relying on preserved stuff, breakfast is oatmeal, lunch varies, but is often pbj or egg salad sandwiches (after i ran out of spam), and dinners been a quart of soup canned up long ago, by the time the garden comes in i should have gone through 1/2 the canned stuff in the cabin.

    4 generlly i make the ost of available land and use the best methods available, plowing and planting are best because a large area can be done and i can easily work rows after with my wheel hoe, but i have used containers and raised beds and huglecultre and other unconventional methods where the conditions were not suited for plowing and planting (like a rubble pile that i farmed at y last place, dot rubble dup fro the 50s, all rocks with a thin soil over it, used huge areas of sheet mulch with taarps and black plastic then lightly scratched the surface to plant, deep uneven areas i packed with rotten wood and copost then soil over top excavated fro under y portable buildings aking like a huglecultre setup, around big rocks and stups i used contaainers or scrtched out pockets nd planted pupkins to sprawl over the otherwise unworkable areas. far easier and more productive to just hop on the tractor and plow up a large area then go between rows with a wheel hoe fitted with an ocilating type hoe blade.

    i too write y plans for the year but i do it in december, since i have a rough idea of my resources and budget and plan out the year to get me till the next fall (when pupkins and apples sell, and firewood, etc, and i set the budget for the following year) this past week i cut 24 face cords of firewood (8 cords), 10 are hardwood, the rest is low grade poplar, cottonwood, pine, spruce etc with a few posts and logs. i stacked the hardwood but my tractor ran out of gas, just got more this morning with a ride from my neighbor. had to reassess my budget to account for the speed at which i am using gas and i have to give up a phone (and dial up quality internet, and internet in general) to balance the budget, its far more important to get this wood done than have phone and internet. i have 15 cords of hardwood cut and stacked for next fall, and another 15 in low grade wood (30 cords total, or 90 face cords). thats about half of what i plan to hve for this fall, this fall will be my biggest firewood year ever and my last, since i will be out of trees for it. one of my barn cats died (a morbidly obese cat someone threw out a truck in front of my place over a year ago). not really much to say this week, put up a picture last week of a 10 face cord stack of hardwood that i cut the past week, have another one this week, and depending onthe weather i ay have another this coming week, thats all i do all winter. i do have money in my budget for a better maple pan but the menonite i hired to make it keeps procrastinating and saying he has plenty of time to do it in, i told hi to get it done by the end of january or the deal is off (been screwed too any times by amish and menonites procrastinating then not having time when they run out of time), fortunatly i already got some workable pans over the summer, not ideal but they will work if the better one doesn’t get made, and i will hold a grudge if the guy pulls the same bs that all the others did in the past (he has had a month to do it already).

    1. nemoseto,

      I hate to hear that you will have to go silent for awhile due to cash flow issues. I enjoy your posts and you have interesting adventures in NY land. Don’t forget us when you get internet back. You are also one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever heard of.

        1. thanks, i will miss coming here, i would have made monday walks to the general store but they threw me out for using the wifi too often (i spent $130 that day and was the only customer in the place all morning, they told me to leave because they thought i was there too often, the weather sucked that week and i walked to the store 3 times that week to use wifi). anyway i refuse to go back or do business with the unless the stores owner apolagises for the rude behavior of his employee (i spent about $3500 to $4000 a year there) since thats not an option the next closest place is 15 miles away (general store was only a 5 mile walk each way and each time at the very least i would carry a 50lb sack of feed home on my shoulder and buy a soda and a donut, at the very least each time)

          coming here is about the only reason i bother to know what day it is

      1. thanks, i had high hopes to sell a couple hunting sheds i built and put up for sale when i loaned my neighbor/friend that money, it was just at the start of deer season, had the hunting shelters actually sold they would have covered me, had a nuber of people stop in but none bought any, just gave me bs claiing the amish sell hunting sheds for $100 each and wanted me to match the price (the amish sell 4×4 shelters for $300 each, mine were 4×7 big enough to fit 2 hunters in them, built much more solid than amish shelters and i was asking $375 for each of mine, also have an 8×8 shed for $900 and a stack of cedar fence posts for $100). deer season is over so the hunting shelters probably won’t sell at all, will convert them to chicken coops to sell in spring, or put them out back for my own use.

        i was totally surprised that nothing sold, so i a milking a very limited budget till spring when people start buying chicks and are likely to buy coops, fence posts, chicks (from my flock) and other stuff, or till my neighbor pays back the loan (he is waiting on a huge workmans comp settlement) whatever comes first.

        here is a picture of the 8×8 shed i built and one of the hunting shelters and have at the end of the driveway, last year i sold 3 sheds with single doors that people wanted for coops in the fall (to replace the flimsy ones they got at tractor supply) people looked at them for wintering riding mowers but the doors were too small, this year i made a shed with a double door, i put about 9 to 12 hours labor into each shed and the lumber comes from trees i cut and take to be milled. as i said i was totally taken by surprise that nothing has sold

        1. Almost There,
          Please add me to the card. I have communicated with OP via private email and he was always so special. I’m so sad to hear of his passing.

    2. nemoseto,

      I agree,Z36, you are one of the hardest workers on this site. Sorry about your cat. Libraries and some restaurants have WiFi……

      Good luck

      1. not an option for me,

        5miles away is the bombay general store but i was thrown out by a rude employee months ago for using the wifi too often (1 hour 20 minute walk each way) and after the way i was treated (not a freeloader, i was a paying customer) i refuse to do business with them further unless the owner aploagises for his employees behaviour. the previous owner used to be super cool with me and let me run up a tab and pay it in firewood (he heated his own house, his sisters house, and his fathers house that way), then he got in deep debts cause i was the only person in town who actually paid my tab, he sold the store to a menonite family that ran a series of feed sotres and grocery stores, but they favor the amish and other menonites and are flat rude to anyone who isn’t one of them, openly declairing that they don’t care if non amish/menonites do business with them or not (such as me)

        7 miles away is a diner/truck stop with wifi but they don’t have any outlets near the tables, and my laptops are really old so unless i crry a car battery and inverter i can’t use them there (i know because i tried, they removed all the outlets when they remodeled cause someone was worried kids might stick a fork in an outlet)

        there used to be wifi at a truckstop 11 miles away but they stopped offering it after too many people were using it to pirate movies (big truck stop on the rez next to the casino), when they had it i would collect cans on the way to take to the machine in back and cover snacks with cans i picked up on the way (i could find like $5 in 4loco cans every other day on the roadside within half a mile of that place)

        after that the closest places are either in malone (15 miles away, 4 hour 35 minute walk each way on a good day) or further east on the rez which is also about 15 miles to get to. this time of year the only way to reach them is to walk or get a ride and rides are too scarce for something like going to use wifi, in the warmer weather i can bike there in about an hour 15 minutes each way making that practical.

        there was a company offering line of sight radio internet connections but they went out of business, broadband is in the area killing most other services where its available, cable is the next most popular home option, then dsl, but i am a mile from the nearest cable lines and a quarter mile from phone lines or power lines (5 miles to the nearest broadband fiberoptic lines which service the general store). my only home options are hughsnet or att cell phone, att screwed me over when i tried a contract phone so i use prepaids but that basically dial up speeds and i get just a single bar on it teathered for internet.

        giving up the phone frees up about $40 a month in my budget and i will just be offline till the weather permits bike travel to the places 15 miles out, or i sell some stuff or my neighbor pays back the loan. i tend to be meticulous and consider all possible variables, sure i could ask for one of those free welfare phones but i won’t defile myself by doing that (and would probably be denied anyway, every time i try to sign up for a low income discount on anything they require me to submit things like electric bills, being off grid means i have none to show them so any applictions i make are denied for “failing to submit required paperwork” by choosing to be self sufficent i am locked out of any kind of discounts and have to pay full price for everything or just do without ($800 to have a barn cat fixed at the local vet, $90 through a low income discount, i had to take the cats half way accross the state on an all day trip with my neighbor to a vet that would do it for just $250 a cat then have my neighbor go pick the cats up the following day, they help me when they can so when they asked for the loan i put myself in a tight spot helping them).

        probably shouldn’t have typed all that out but its a booring day since the sun went down and i had to stop piling slash and stacking firewood

        1. nemoseto:

          Most of us are too spoiled to understand what you are going through.

          Personally, I appreciate your descriptions. It help keeping me grounded.

          1. i think i would be ahead of most preppers if there was an actual shtf event, for me there would actually be very little adjustment to be done to get used to it, if i even noticed it at all. i live closer to the standards of living in the late 1800s, unfortunatly this is hell for a dating life as i am completly alien to women my own age, complete culture barrier

          2. nemoseto,

            On the dating scene, it doesn’t matter where you live. I’m not out as far as you are, I’m out and about more than you are, work in town, and there’s no LMI men around here. I just keep calm and carry on. Jeremiah 29:11.

          3. nemoseto: The life you live is from the 1800’s.You have a work ethic and life ethic unrivaled because of your previous experiences. . rare in this time .
            We all learn from your descriptive posts.Your range of experience is way beyond my ability. Reading your posts always makes me feel lazy and pampered…tho by “today’s standards, am neither”. DH and I lived 2 years on 5K. It was tough, with him disabled.
            It is bad that your neighbor got in a tight spot and you had to be the one who gave him the assistance he needed.. He must know he has put you in a tight spot, Maybe he has friends or family that can assist you by purchasing one of those sheds., you should ask him to access the needs of others and refer them to you- because he is your friend and knows the quality of your work……. the sheds are just too far from my location..
            Disability claims often take far longer than those awaiting them anticipate, or are promised by their lawyers.One example,( I know several more.).. My SIL IS/ has been disabled since 16, unable to hold any job, multiple problems- He was in late 20’s before they were able to get him before a judge. and approved . His degree of disability even surprised his lawyer….(He draws off of his dad’s earnings.)
            I am 60 , and 15-20 years ago I could out work the young men hand unloading 18 wheelers. Like you,I did it because i had to make a living..then was unusual to see a lady working the job and young bucks would come in… and if Mrs J could do it they thought no problem until 4 hours later they had barely got started on an identical load to one i completed in 7 hours, a few days before. I worked hard because that is what it took to take care of my daughter.to have done less would not have kept us fed , clothed, schooled and housed..
            Take care of yourself. Work toward having the qualities you desire in your life’s mate…be alert for opportunities to meet more people in an age range appropriate. Be careful what “pond you fish in”… If you want a Bluegill, don;t fish where there are only carp.
            It took me 11.5 years to find my present Hubby. I prayed about it, left it alone and worked on myself, ever so often I would remind God…” I am still waiting , keep on taking care of my “Mr. Right”, I don’t know who He is but you do.” .

    3. nemoseto,

      I am so sorry to hear about your kitty that you rescued from those heartless people. At least he had a good life for his last year of his life.

      1. thanks, she was more notable than most of the ones that have come and gone, even if only because i mistook her for a raccoon when i first found her (omg she was so fat her stomach dragged on the ground, i treated her injuries that looked and smelled like someone had poured drain cleaner on her and not injuries like being tossed from a vehicle would look like, and i had her on a diet so while she stayed fat she wasn’t as fat as she was when i first found her), i used to joke that if she was any more lethargic she would be a pet rock. she was the boss cat outside when she recovered from the injuries, i think because the others were just afraid of being sat on. had a lot of personality quirks i ever saw in a cat before.

    4. while i am thinking of it i’m gonna share pictures of my often mentioned maple shack, when i was going to build the new porch on my cabin i dragged the old freestnding porch out into the sugarbush area then did some quick work to convert it into a 3 walled leanto style structure (10×10) got an evaporator stove in it but had not put the chimney up yet (just going to cut a hole in the metal roofing and stick stove pipe up through it, used roofing heat shields as needed to protect walls). got about 100 buckets and taps in the shelter as well as assorted maple stuff like thermometer and filters, wired a 15 watt solar pannel to charge an old car battery that powers an led light, but also have a kerosine lantern backup. not shown are the 2 bulk 300 gallon tanks to put sap in. made a bin next to it that i dumped scrap lumber into, and stacked 2/3 cord of pine under the overhang in the back and some more pine in the front

      got about 50 trees big enough to tap now (over 12 inch diameter at breast height dbh) and another 50 that will be big enough in a few years, estimate i can make 25 gallons of syrup a year average, giving me a 5 gallon personal supply and 20 gallons i can sell or trade (going rate is about $50 a gallon for the real stuff),

      if i can’t sell it and have surplus the next year i can do like the old natives in the winter and remove even more water by freezing it in winter and scrping the ice off, thats how they made cake sugar (like a sticky hard block of granulated sugar, better to do a freeze than scortch it heatig to make syrup into cake sugar, otherwise the process is very complicated with machinery, cake sugar like that is very very expensive and can be used in place of white or brown sugar and take less storage space than jars of syrup). similarprocess was used to make apple jack out of hard cider, putting barrels of hard cider out in january and fishing out the ice that formed, though its very illegal to make apple jack now it was common back in 1700s and 1800s. modern natives would just buy whatever at the grocery store and sometimes if its available pay huge amounts of money for the old school stuff for special occassions or if they are into the traditional diet thing, 20 gallons syrup may bring in $1000 or as cake sugar it would be worth $1500 to $2000

      my maple pans are just deep buffet pans i got in the summer, can put 2 on top of the evaporator easily with lots of surfacce area to spare, i would rather have a big pan that would cover the top completly so i can get the most productive results, but getting a local welder to do it is a pain in the butt, they either don’t have the tools to work with stinless steel and decline the job, or procrastinate and never actually do the job and bs me and waste my time, thats why i got the buffet pans plan B



  8. This Week’s Questions:

    1. What type of radios do you use for your communications plan? Just getting started with commo. We have 3 different types of radios and looking at a 4th. I received, but have not started, my book on taking the ham license test.

    2. Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer? None in our sphere yet.

    3. Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why? We are going to turn our glass enclosed front porch (south facing) area into an semi-green house this year.

    4. Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why? DW also wants to try straw bale potatoes in our small back yard.

    5. What did you do to prep this week? Well, since you asked…

    Started the week at a Gun Show: The show was very slow. I bought some ammo and sold some small stuff. Took a couple of possible orders for some of my guns.

    Got my 686 back from the gunsmith with the Meprolight 3-dot adjustable tritium night sights installed. If you have a L or K frame, or an N-frame with standard sights, and are looking for night sights for it – these are awesome! I wish I could include a picture of them installed. My S&W 69 is getting them next. They came from Brownell’s.

    I am planning on turning one of my AR’s into a “Designated Marksman” rifle. Equipped with a scope and bipod, a bit heavier than a “Patrol Rifle”. Then I will be selling off my “surplus” guns; I’m thinking I have more than I can use. I’ll use the money for debt reduction/food storage increase/property improvement. If our group expands to those who don’t have weapons, they will just have to come up with their own.

    Food storage continues to be our priority in 2020. That does not mean we are not looking at the other areas, it’s just that after the time we have been at this, there is not much more “stuff” I think we need. But we are fast running out of storage room in our small house.

    Supply Run: 5.0-gal buckets; 5-gal lids; Mag-Pul furniture for AR; ammo; pasta; coffee; MRE entrees; wheat; plastic ammo box; corn;

    Received: Books (Tribe, Collapse); AR repair parts; AR mags; IWB Holster for revolver

  9. 1 i like yaesu radios and dispiese the baofengs. the yaesus are easier to manually program. i have a yaesu 2900. but it is only 2 meter line of sight or repeater. if i had the cash. i would get a 818 or 857.. then run a long wire.
    O/P was a teacher .
    3 i’m sure i will .don’t know what yet.
    4 i have a traditional garden or 2 or 3. then am experimenting with a hugal bed.
    5 picked up a30 ton log s[plitter. and have been cutting xtra wood and selling 1/4 cords. to help pay the bills. about 2 cords for next year and drying.

  10. Afternoon everyone. This has been a slow week with New Year’s Day being smacked about in the middle of the week. Weather down my way has been mild for last several days, but LOTS of rain followed by wind and a cold front has brought back the reality that we still have lots of winter left yet, but I’m making plans for Spring.

    I got hit by a pickup truck on Dec 21st while sitting at a red light. I suspect the guy was reading a text, or sending one, but no proof. Police just reported it as distracted driving. He was in a company truck, and try as I could to contact his place of business, they were closed for holidays and I was unable to contact them until Jan 2nd. Sounds like things will progress now, so I’m pricingbody shops. Owner of company even agreed to providing me a rental car. Great, but I wish it had not happened at all!

    As far as prepping this week, I have been scouring the retail. Stores for bargains on winter clothes. I used to be able to pick up things like extension cords, timers, flood lights and such at bargains after Christmas, but I guess I’m not the only ones doing this, as retailers are no longer reducing these type items. Bargains are still out there, but you gotta be diligent!

    For Tara’s questions this week. The only radios I have at the moment are NOLA weather radios. I have toyed with idea of HAM (covers questions 1 & 2). For gardening, I was very successful with my herb garden last year. Tomatoes didnotdo so well I containers. I think the sun was so intense, the soilactually got too hot. Next time I container tomatoes a try, I will put one container inside a larger container with more soil as an insulator to the intense heat. I’ve heard that works very well. As mentioned, I container garden, plant right in the soil, and raised garden. I would love to give forest gardening a try, but need to do more research. By the way, my heirloom tomatoes did the best last year, regardless of conditions! Pleased!

    Regarding Thor’s questions, a faraday cage is on the list. With this recent development with Iran, It is now on the short list. If there was a quarantine/pandemic, I would be ok for awhile. Need to add more protein to my stash. Regarding the possibility of a physical, or cyber attack on American soil, I feel the possibility is real. To think that there are not already terrorists cells in this country is plain stupid with an open borders and a previous President that welcomed terrorists organizations to the White House. Demographically I feel we are already at war with ourselves to some extent, andhave been for awhile. I pretty much always keep my gas tanks full. You never know when you might need to boogie.

    Have a great week. Prayers again to Ohio Preppers family. God bless you Tara and Dan!

    1. just before christmas a friend invited me to go on a long trip 120 miles out with him as he was shopping for his kids gifts (was too cold to work outside so i went along for something to do) on the way backi was horrified when he took out his phone and showed me how he can rest it on the dash and started watching a netflix movie swerving all over the road focussing on the movie, fortunatly we got into a cell phone dead zone 20 miles wide and he put it away anoyed with the performance and freezing up. i been hearing about a lot of accidents from people doing that same thing, tv on their phones while driving, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, in a way i think an emp may actually make things better in some ways. too many people don’t even understand what is wrong with such actions. sounds like the truck driver was just another dumbass, techology may be getting more advanced but at what cost?

      1. The dude even had the nerve to suggest that perhaps the damage to my car had possibly been there before he hit me. Yeah, right dude, but since you were not paying attention, you may never know the answer to one. Dumb butt!

  11. So sad to hear of Ohio Prepper passing on, prayers to his family. Got an email from Becky notifying me of his passing.
    It was good to see ‘names’ of some of you I used to chat with regularly when I was a regular on The Survival Blog.net, it’s been awhile.

  12. First off I am very sad to hear of TOPs passing. It seems very sudden and unexpected. Been too many deaths in family and extended family (and I consider all of you extended family) recently. It’s the way life goes.

    Tara’s Questions

    This Week’s Questions:

    What type of radios do you use for your communications plan? I have 2 primary HF rigs for routine HAM type things. I have multiple antennas for the HF spectrum including multi-band dipoles, a big multi-band HF vertical and am working on acquiring a tower and small Yagi antenna. I am active on CW and SSB and can take a station out of my Faraday cage and have it set up and running on battery power after a “bad” event in less than an hour.

    Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer? I have held a General class license in 1984 and have been licensed and operated in Greece, England, Georgia, Texas, Maryland and Japan. I am a CW operator from my military specialty (HF Morse intercept operator) and even though most bad guys quit using Morse Code 30 or so years ago, it is still the fall back mode when things go Tango Uniform.

    Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why? Nope, not enough room for a garden and have trained all the deer and other 4 leggers to come close to the house for handouts so no way would they let anything grow in the yard.

    Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why? Just don’t garden

    What did you do to prep this week? Gave much thought to water storage. After the worst part of winter passes I’ll continue to my water catchment system (plastic barrels tend to burst open when full of frozen rain water).

    That’s it for me this week. I’m standing on the side reading all the post and considering what else I can do to make myself useful now that I’ve turned 69 years old.

  13. HI ALL ,,,, first thing out of the chute (cow boy talk) TOP have a good ride into the sunset ,didn’t know you long , but it was good while it lasted ,,,,,TOP and I use to talk about NIKOLA TESLA (the. Man ) not many folks you can do that with,,,,, he will be missed

    Preps this week ,,lots of rain so hid in the cabin and loaded boxes (100s)of ammo ,some was sitting around for years (40) trying to thin things down for the move ,moving a setup ranch to a new place is a huge job ,will thin down farm equipment at the spring farm equipment auction ,for years never got rid of old equipment Just parked it out back ,we have 3 round balers ,5 small square balers , Just in case of a breakdown you know ? HA HA allready sold 6 tractors
    DW use to joke that a man can’t have too many tractors so I took her up on it ,,have 9 left ,anyone need a grain drill or three? One of the worst things I have found over the years is WHY DID I GET RID OF THAT WHEN I MOVED???I wasn’t going to need it was I ??????????

    As for gardening this year ,DW is in charge of the small stuff ,potatoes ,,garlic ,, ect ,the garlic is in pots ,the fruit trees are in ‘pots’ of sorts ,half 55gal barrels ,about 45 total ,

    As for com gear ,the new place in in a valley that blocks most signals in or out ,a cb will do for most things (no land lines ) you know out remote ranching a phone is nice to have but life go’s on with out one , same for web.
    At night AM skip from 5 states away will let you know if the world is still turning , you know even now folks in the out lands do just fine without things city folks think they will die without ,what a lot of folks think is preparing is just everyday life in the out back ,
    Some times more is really less ,,,and less is much more
    Have you seen all the stars lately ? Or has light pollution robbed you of the grand sight of seeing the stars ?
    Every time I have to go to town the first thing I notice is the smell but then city critters say the same about fresh cut hay ,ok don’t spread manure on holiday weekends ,folks coming out to visit might not understand ,
    My the sun is out ,best go see what the cows are up to. Like talking to the girls,and yep they talk back when you speak there language,best reassure them were having chicken tonight ,

    Tea later

    1. been too cloudy to see the stars recently, but i been known to walk overnight into town by starlight alone, biggest town in the county is only a pop of under 5000 and itss 15 miles away. next road over from me is inaccessable unless you want to wade through the beaver flooding, town decided it was easier to close the road than maintain it anymore, just a dirt road with no power on it. used to use an old pair of navy surplus binoculars and could see the pannels on the international space station or the rings of jupiter if i knew where to look (had a newsletter back then telling me what was going overhead).

      1. Nemoseto,,,,,the stars at night , not much else one can say ,,, in Alaska the love of my life and I would go out at night and live life ,with the snow and starlight if was magic ,daylight took away something special , I have done a 35mile trail on snowshoes in one night never useing a headlamp , there is not a thing wrong with the life you live ,there are lady’s that would fit in your life ,most likely saying and thinking what you are ,,,one of my daughters was complaining about not meeting any men worth a salt ,i asked her ? What pond are you fishing in??

        Tea and chocolate

    2. 0ldhomsteader,

      My brother could talk “Telsa”… 🙂

      We talked “Rife” today.

      As for the stars, tonight, the sky is that deep, heavenly blue, one star out so far, and it is beautiful. It’s going to be cold tonight.

      1. Almost there,,,,,TOP passing should be a lesson to all on the blog that life is uncertain, and to live it ,,,,,,,,,, not one of us knows if we see tomorrow ,do you ask your self if this was my last day did I do right by the day and my life that I was given ,did I leave things unfinished and or unspoken ? , I put off emailing John on the week end , you know ,got busy , we were bouncing back and forth about physics , and matter ,, we have a saying among cow boys ,,good ride cowboy ,good ride ,,,,,,,

        1. 0ldhomesteader,

          I’ve been thinking the same thing all week.

          When I would go down to help my sister with my dad, I knew, chances were that I may never see him alive again when I left. I am glad I have no regrets as far as he is concerned. There are others that I’ve known that I didn’t listen to the little voice that told me to contact them, and missed out.

    1. AT, China just started their own GPS system too.

      First targets in war with China our GPS system is destroyed.
      Then EMP
      Then Pandemic

      Just my thoughts……

  14. Most sorrowful for TOP’S family. My heart goes out to you.
    Nemoseto, I shall pray for someone to share wifi hookup with you. Do not feel disheartened.

    It was a long grey, wet week. Many more wet than dry days. Water standing inch deep on top of ground.

    Ordered more grain, more potatoes and sugar. More seeds arrived this week. More whole corn, and rabbit feed. Unloaded 1,000 pounds in one day, back got ouchie. Must be getting wimpie. Picked up more kerosene for oil lamps/lanterns. No more calves this week, but steers are growing like weeds. Flooding around barn, in driveway and water racing in creeks.
    Prepare, time is running out, pay off any debt.

    God is good.

    1. I always wonder what people think they’re going to do for seeds in a disaster situation. The answer is usually “I’ll just buy more.” The idea that seeds might not be available is foreign, at best.

      1. Lauren,
        They think they will put some seed in the ground and it will produce with a bundance- just go out and gather.. NOT Happening… Each plant has different needs and each soil is different.

        The idea that there may be no , or limited shipping… also foreign. That grocery stores may not receive 2-3 x weekly shipments….JIT shipping has spoiled many people to daily shoppin’ for immediate fast meals.. (picking up a pizza or pre cooked chicken.)

  15. I was sitting in a corner in the local Burger King when i read about TOP. I sat and cried (silently) for nearly 5 minutes before i could get myself together to finish reading. We would email back and forth, and were looking forward to a meetup in the spring, with Mr and Mrs Overwatch, and Almost There. Couldnt do it this fall cuz too many other things going on. I think my hubby and TOP would have gotten along great! Maybe if we go to Dayton(Xenia) in the spring, we can meet Mrs. TOP. RIP, TOP. Your knowledge will be difficult to replace!

    What type of radios do you use for your communications plan? All kinds, both on grid and off. My hubby has a knowledge level t hat equals or exceeds TOP’s because hes been doing ham radio and electronics since before i was born! Literally!
    Any pack members a HAM, I believe TOP is a trainer? We are. TOP used to be our Go-Between to pack members who were hams. We travel quite a bit, so are looking forward to meeting Zulu, Cliff in Douglasville, and Overwatch(in person). Overwatch will soon be a relatively close neighbor, so we are looking forward to introducing him and family to LMIs.
    Are you planning on growing anything new in your survival garden this year, and why? Carrots. Ihave always had difficulty growing them.
    Do you garden only one way – ground plot, straw bale, container, greenhouse, portal, food forest etc. or several ways and why? Ground plot, raised bed, and container, but this year the raised beds have to be completely redone. The redwood walls have finally rotted thru. I also want the walls higher, like 24 inches, not the 8-10 it originally was.
    My preps for the week was starting to clean out the freezer. It doesnt make sense to store it and forget its in there so it goes bad! I have also learned to make pie crust, and ammaking lemon chess pie after i get off here. Other prep is getting recertified and licensed. Its the first time they’ve both come due at the same time.

    1. BC,

      We’ll definitely have to meet up in the Spring.

      I am going to create some raised beds with 3 rows of cinder blocks. The first row will be in the ground just a tad. Multiple beds, looking at 4 ft wide by 8 ft long, but that may change. This will allow me to put a hoop cover in the holes for a winter garden. A friend of mine plants her lettuce, broccoli, peas, carrots in the raised beds and has done really well.

      1. Baby Catcher & Almost There
        TOP had asked if we would be in your area this coming spring. He wanted us all to meet and visit since I have known TOP since 2012-13(blog). We live way out on the west coast, and told him would let him know via private email. Miss our on line discussions, he was a truly wonderful knowledge person to acquire information from, shall miss him a lot.

    2. babycatcher ,,,,,,a trick with carrots ,,,,dig a trench the width of a shovel and as deep as the shovel blade ,mix good potting soil and fill with that ,( one part peatmoss one part sand one part rich compost half part aged manure )
      Some times a little lime helps too ,,,, enjoy

  16. I am completely shocked, if I didn’t see this with my own eyes I would not have believed this

    One of my wife’s favorite show hosts endorsed Mike Bloomberg for president.

    Judge Judy…..boycotted from now on………WOW I thought she was conservative ???

    1. Thor1.

      Judge Judy has been a staunch Democrat and liberal all of her life. Nothing new there, but I would think she was more intelligent than to throw in with Bloomberg. Guess not.

  17. I just opened this post. I am heartbroken. I have had the pleasure to meet TOP and Mrs. TOP, and you couldn’t meet finer people.TOP always had a little item to share with us every time we met. The man would give you the shirt off his back. Talk about a couple who complement each other…TOP was outgoing, Mrs. TOP not so much…Their skill sets worked well together, and he helped her expand hers, getting her involved in HAM and the local EMA system. She got him more involved in the homesteading side of things. My greatest regret is that we never got the chance to go camp on their property, as winter set in…TOP was family, even tho we only knew each other a short time.
    I love the love shown here, and if Mrs. TOP isn’t aware, I will certainly share it with her.
    RIP, dear friend.

    1. GrammyPrepper,
      Kinda feel like we have been kicked by a mean mule.
      .Take care of yourself… Take a deep breath. Let it out completely… and Do what you need to take care of your family.. TOP would hav advocated that each of us look for the areas we are short and shore those up, to the best of our ability..

      1. Thanks, AA, yes it certainly does feel like that. We will ‘keep on keeping on’. I’m sending Mrs. TOP a card, and hope to continue our friendship moving forward. TOP would like that.

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