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Jet Stream has decided to “bless” abundantly this winter.

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

We had a fairly quiet and snowy week, here at the Rawles Ranch. I had to plow out our road and barnyard  area several times. It seems that the ever-fickle Jet Stream has decided to “bless” abundantly those of us in the northern portion of The American Redoubt, this winter.  Getting ready for the launch of pre-orders for the waterproof SurvivalBlog Archive USBs stick took up some of my time, as did developing the web page for my pre-1899 guns mailorder business. I’m still hoping for a February 1st launch, if all goes well. A lot of pieces need to be put into place, to make that happen. Now, most notably, activation by a credit card processor. I opted for Blue Dog, because they treat firearms-related retailers just like any other merchants. (Other credit card firms label firearms-related retailers as “high risk”, and therefore demand a higher percentage–putting gun merchants on a par with p*rn peddlers and “head’ shops.)

My lovely wife, as usual, has a lot more to report than I do. She always keeps herself very busy, and she is remarkably cheery about it. This ranch would fall into shambles, without her!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Well, dear readers, my cheery meter has rocketed much higher since Jim has returned home and the advent of this this beautiful winter weather.  We have received about three feet of snow in the past week. Finally!  The spruce, fir, pine, and tamarack trees are draped in puffy whiteness and the meadows are gleaming.  It is so incredibly gorgeous here.  I love the crisp air and crunch of the snow under my feet as I do chores. I love the feeling of being bundled up warm and comfortable in my winter clothes and playing in the snow.  I just love snow!  I am a real northern girl.  Give me snow!  Please Lord, no more rain until March 21st! Please!!!

This week I have spent much time out with the cows and horses.  I feed them twice a day, morning and night. At night I, invite the cows into the stalls with their hay which they eat while in the stalls. We close up the cows  in the stalls at night to protect the calf and to keep her warm.  There is at least a twenty degree difference in the mornings between the stalls and the outside air when I open the door to let them out for the day.  Putting them in at night has entailed a lot of manure clean up, for me.  Manure is my black gold for the gardens.  Thus, I am really happy to see the pile growing for next summer.  I don’t mind shoveling manure at all.  It does take a lot of effort to pull a sled full of it over the snow to the pile, but that builds muscles and heart strength.

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A few observations.  I saw F., the baby calf, eat hay at four days old.  They start early. At 20 days, I saw her head buried in her own pile of hay, eating it!  I’ve seen this early eating behavior before, but it always surprises me.  Of course, she gets most of her nutrition from her mom, but through her beginning to eat hay now is preparing her body to take nutrition from the hay.  I think it’s God’s back up plan in case something happens to the mom, the calf could still survive with the herd on hay and grass.  Of course the ideal is to nurse for at least six months.  I don’t know what the real statistics are on this.  It’s just my own guessing.  I have seen adult cows and bulls/steers still nursing off lactating cows not related to them…

A little story:

We have a Wild female turkey who chooses to live with us during the winter.  She has been named Fl. This is the third winter we’ve had a turkey about the place. We’re not sure if it’s the same turkey year after year, since last year we had two females and a baby.  The baby and one female turkey disappeared by March. During the day, Fl, is out and about with the cows and horses.  At dusk she flies up into some our trees and roosts there for the night.  Most days, out of the kindness of my heart, I toss her a bit of grain after feeding the chickens. (Our Welfare turkey).

A few mornings ago on a dark cloudy day, I was cleaning out the manure and emptying it out onto the pile.  While heading back to the barn, I heard a distinct knocking sound on something.  I looked around to see what was making the noise and didn’t see anything.  Since the knocking continued, I walked toward the sound.  I stepped into the stalls, on the back wall we have a high window.  It is very dirty.  Note to self: You should wash that window. Through the window, I could see the turkey staring at the window, her reflection, and pecking at it, thus making the knocking sound. She was standing on the wooden post of the corral fence which ends right under the stall window. I approached the window, from inside the stall, thinking that she would see my movement through the window and fly off, but she didn’t.  It was also very dark inside the stalls, thus making a nearly perfect mirror on her side of the window.  She pecked the window again, and I knocked back at her.  She was only a little bit startled, and didn’t leave.  She pecked at the window, again and each time she paused, I knocked the window back. We had a knocking contest for a few minutes. As I watched her, I could see she was trying to figure out what was going on. After a few more minutes of this, she decided to leave.  During that time, I was less than three inches from her. She never saw me, if she had she would have left immediately, and I was able to study her in close proximity.  She is a beautiful bird.

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I shoveled snow to keep our trails open to the woodshed, greenhouse, and other outbuildings.  I have also spent time shoveling snow off of the barn roof.

I skied only once, because of needing to do the other chores, which expended a lot of my energy.  Plus the skiing was really breaking trails, which is hard work in three feet of fresh fluffy snow.

Last weekend I camped out in my tent during a heavy wet snow storm.  I will be writing a separate article about that.

We had a very productive school week.

The girls and I have been watching three video series from YouTube that you might be interested in watching.

Fowler’s Makery and Mischief,  “30 Day Survival Challenge in the Canadian Rockies”

Fowler is a Christian.  It is very refreshing and encouraging to hear him say grace for his trout and wild greens, and end his prayer, “In Jesus’ name”

Fowler’s Survival Challenge partner, and Survivalist Instructor, Greg Ovens, also has a YouTube Channel.

Noemi’s Simple Living in a Scandish home

She is a minimalist and her family has food sensitivities.  She talks about cleaning, organizing, recipes, decorating, etc.  I like many of her ideas and sentiments of being as natural and simple as possible.

Though we are not minimalists ourselves, (impossible when gardening, canning, livestock, camping, hiking, skiing, canoeing, skating, horses and tack, hunting, shooting, homeschooling, love of books, and family heirlooms and all the accessories that go with all of those activities). I try to be simple, keep things clean by using natural cleansers, and organized, especially, in our main living space, and eating very healthily.  I especially like it when our girls watch these videos to also glean ideas on how to conduct themselves in their future homes.

I sorted through my onion harvest, separating out the sprouting onions and the rotting ones.  I am saving the sprouting ones to replant in the spring, for seeds, and composting the rotting onions.  The soft onions, I will need to chop up and freeze this coming week, or dehydrate.  I still have six spaghetti squash left from the harvest and a lot of Acorn squash.

I need to go through my seed tote and organize them and plan the gardens, start writing down some plans.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.

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