Clearing Out our Survival Retreat and a Look at What We Stored There

Ever wonder what a prepper stores at their survival retreat? We visited our retreat and here’s a look at the supplies we cached there.

Over the long weekend, we made the long journey to our survival retreat and recovered some supplies we had cached there. Most of them had been there for less than a decade, but some items had been there since before Y2K.

Now that we have our permanent prepper property, the retreat property will be sold. This trip to remove our personal property was the first step in that process. We also met with a realtor and she gave us some ideas on how she would market it. Thankfully, she agreed that we should sell it “as is” and while we won’t be making any renovations or major improvements, she made some suggestions of what might make it more marketable without the need to spend much money. We hope it will be on the market in June.

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The Best Time to Start Stocking up on Firewood

The winter is almost over and we have not used our wood stove for a week, but that doesn’t stop the firewood deliveries.

I just had a cord of firewood delivered, but I don’t plan to burn it until next winter. My plan is to have a cord delivered every few weeks until I have at least six cords on hand for next winter. I want to give them at least six months to dry out and season so they will burn better. In fact, if I don’t burn some of it until the following winter, that will be even better.

I was expecting fairly green wood, but it wasn’t bad. Much of it had reportedly been harvested from dead standing trees. This load was a mix of oak and hickory with an occasional piece of maple thrown in. It should make excellent firewood by the time winter rolls back around.

Ironically, we haven’t completely stopped burning wood yet this spring. This weekend, temps will drop again, so I’m sure I’ll be back to burning fire in our wood stove in the basement. It’s been 66 or 67 in there; if the indoor temp drops to 64, I’m firing her up.

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The Walls are Up as Chicken Coop Framing Continues

More sunny weather allowed us to make substantial progress on our chicken coop yesterday. We expect to pick up with roofing late next week.

Work on the chicken coop continued thanks to the nicest weather we’ve had in all of 2021. All four walls are framed and up.

We also experimented with different lengths of rafters for the roof and the overhang. We settled on a 7-foot roof. It stick out about two feet in the front and 9 inches in the back. You can see the 2×4 we pinned up there to give us an idea of what it would look like.

Today’s post is going to be a photo essay. Enjoy.

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Warm Weather Allows us to Make Excellent Progress on our Chicken Coop

Back to the grind stone–or should I say nail gun? Warm, dry weather allowed me to get back into the field and work on framing the chicken coop.

On Monday, I took advantage of the warm weather to work on the chicken coop. It was a productive day in which we finished the floor and completed framing both the front and rear walls, which are the load-bearing walls.

We started our framing with the rear wall, pictured above, because it was the most straightforward wall having nothing but studs on 16-inch centers. The front wall had two 32-inch opening which we will use to access the interior of the coop for cleaning it out, maintenance, and to check on the chickens. I inserted 4×4 headers over these openings. We used our experience from building the back wall to work on the front wall.  It went together well, and I will provide photos in a day or two once we get it in place on the floor.

top and bottom plate
We marked the location of our studs on the top and bottom plates of the rear wall. This help ensure everything aligns and the walls is square.

The 5-foot 4-inch height of the front wall used studs that were 59.5 inches in length. I had bought several 10-foot 2x4s, so we could cut two studs from each one. For the back wall, an 8-foot 2×4 yielded two 43.5 inch studs with minimal scrap.

The rough openings for the doors ended up being just under 32 inches wide and are 38 inches tall. Based on our elevations, this is plenty of room for me to stand in front of the opening and use a rake to pull bedding out. 

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As the Shutdowns Draw to a Close, Traffic and Crime Rises

Shutting down the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had plenty of unintended consequences, from the economic to mental health. Reopening may have consequences, too.

My daughter, who lives in a mid-sized city, was complaining about the recent increase in traffic and how it is making her commute longer. (Since she works in healthcare, she has been back at work for months. And yes, she caught COVID-19 but recovered quickly, probably thanks to being young.) Apparently, people are going back to the office after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the highways are getting crowded again.

A friend in our old home town confirmed that traffic is “back to normal” or perhaps worse. Construction is also going on at a rapid pace, possibly because the area is one where people from large cities are moving to escape. I’m not sure moving from an apartment in a large city to a townhouse or condo in a mid-sized city is that big an escape, but it took me multiple steps to get from New York City to the country, so you have to start somewhere. That’s why we call it your prepping journey.

It will be interesting to see if the re-opening of American and the thought of facing crowds again drives more people out of cities.

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Spring Shows Up For a Few Days, the Tease

The yellow blooms of forsythia in the valley below us herald the coming of spring, but our mountain locations keeps it at bay.

I came down off our mountain to go shopping and realized it was spring in the valley. The forsythia was blooming. Willow trees had ribbons of green along their branches. When I got to our village, a few ornamental cherry and pear trees in front of houses were blooming.

On the mountain, spring has not yet sprung. In the woods, there are hint of it; red along the tree tops from the maples and touches of green in the undergrowth as small bushes. It’s as if they want to get a jump on the sunshine started soaking it up before their broadleaf cousins could intercept it all, and there was sunshine aplenty. It made me wish for bees. This would be their first real chance to gather pollen and perhaps some nectar and to rebuild their colony after the long cold winter.

While temperatures in the low 60s are welcome, we cannot get carried away. We are not done with the cold weather yet, as it is more than six weeks until our average last frost date. Already the five day forecast shows night time temperatures dropping back into the 20s before the weekend. With my luck, we’ll have snow.

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Planning, Flooring and Framing Out our Chicken Coop

Framing a simply structure like our chicken coop sounds easy, but it is also an easy way to introduce all kinds of errors. Proper planning helps keep it square, plumb and true.

We’ve been getting rain storms on and off for the past couple days, so outdoor work on the chicken coop has ground to a halt. There are, however, things we can do inside for this project.

The chicken coop floor is going to be 12’x4’, so I cut a piece of plywood in half. When butted up against a full sheet, this will give us the full length. Then I painted both pieces with a durable exterior paint. I used an enamel because I wanted it to be glossy. I also painted the edges. When they dried, I flipped them over and painted the back side. Why do the edges and the underside of the floor need paint? To minimize water penetration and rotting.

Framing the Walls

I spent several hours yesterday taking the big-picture plans I have for the chicken coop and converting them into a detailed drawing to serve as a guide for the framing.

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Two Actions Today Moved the World a Step Closer to War

It’s all well and good to prepare for natural disasters and an economic collapse, but war is a constant in our history. Don’t neglect to prepare for it.

Two things moved the world closed to war today as two well-known hot spots heated up.

First, an Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned ship in the Arabian sea.  This could exacerbate tensions between Iran and Israel and lead to a response from Israel, which is known for its punishing response to attacks. Whether Israel strikes back directly at Iran or one of the terrorist groups it sponsors remains to be seen. At the very least, I would expect Israeli air strikes on ammo dumps or missile launch sites.

The danger here is that the two countries could get embroiled in open warfare that might involve the entire region and impact oils supplies, suck in world powers like the U.S. or Russia, or even lead to the use of nuclear devices.

Second, Taiwan publicly discussed its program of designing and building land-based long-range missiles capable of striking mainland China. They said one system is currently in production (and one assumes being deployed) and three more are in development.

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Social Media is Killing us Softly; How to Limited Your Risk

After three months, I dip my toe back into the social media stream and I remember why I left: social media is a big part of what is wrong with society.

I logged in to Twitter today and posted a tweet about a recent post. Then I made the mistake of seeing what people were tweeting about. This was the first time I’d spent any serious time on Twitter in three months. Turns out I hadn’t missed anything. Same bull, different day.

During the long COVID-19 quarantine, Twitter was a good way to kill time. Now? Not so much. It’s a waste of time.

If you are on Twitter, I recommend giving yourself a couple of days or weeks without it. Delete it from your phone and I bet you will be happier without it.

We were Better off Before Social Media

I think social media has harmed our society by emphasizing our differences rather than our similarities. Before, we were all Americans. Today, everything divides us. These differences have always been there, but they were under the surface. Today, all you have to do is find someone’s social media page and know that you hate them in two minutes or less.

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Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

If we didn’t expect something bad to happen, we wouldn’t prep. What you prepare for and how you prepare are critical to your success.

Whether or not we know it, we are all sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Some wait with trepidation, fear and anxiety, certain that something terrible lies in their future. Others look forward to the coming collapse, thinking that it is the only way we will ever get to have a do-over.

Some work to hasten the collapse, the downfall of our country. They are actually people out there that believe that our population is too high and that we need a great die off to save “Mother Earth.” Strange that none of these people seem will to step up and commit suicide to save the planet. They would rather sacrifice you and your family in the name of good.

Some refuse to think about it, either through youth and nativity or possibly denial. Perhaps some are so self-absorbed and live in such a small inward-looking world that they have no idea what the real world is a dangerous place and that life is a terminal disease that no one escapes.

Personally, I like to prepare for something terrible and then live like I don’t care. Maybe the other shoe will drop tomorrow or next year, but by preparing, I feel ready for whatever the future may bring. No fear, no anxiety, and no worries.

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