Prepper Diary October 17: A Long Awaited Day Arrives

It’s full fledged autumn here. The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping, and we’re getting ready for winter. Are you ready for a “dark winter?”

I was excited to have four eggs for breakfast today. They were smaller than usual because they are pullet eggs and came from our young hens. Yes, the chicks we got the first week in June are now beginning to lay eggs. Now they can earn their keep and pay me back for their feed by feeding me.

(In the photo above, the larger egg on the right is a commercial egg. The other four smaller eggs are our home grown eggs.)

I look at it as being one step closer to being food independent. Are we going to live on eggs and honey? Of course not. But the price of eggs had increased by 12 percent in the past year, so producing them on-site will help our grocery bill. As I have stated before, having eggs will allow us to help neighbors and give us something to barter with. As the chickens get older, the eggs will get bigger. I expect our daily harvest will increase as well.

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I Have a Late-Night Encounter and I get a Big Shock

Sometimes things go bump in the night. Sometimes the dog barks and we don’t know why. Then I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the distance.

Frequent readers may recall that I patrol my property late at night. OK, I am actually just walking the dog, but I think of it as a de facto patrol. We walk down the drive way to the road, scout the perimeter, and check the chickens and their enclosure. I hope our presence and smell motivates any predators to think twice about paying a nocturnal visit to the chicken coop.

Each night, I don my headlamp, and I am always armed because, well, I am always armed. Some nights, especially of the dog has been acting like something might be out there, I strap on a 1911 with a Streamlight TLR-2 light/laser combo mounted on it.

I bought the TLR-2 relatively cheap years ago for use on a Smith & Wesson M&P with an extended magazine that was my bedroom self-defense gun. How long ago was this? Let’s just say that the light has only 135 lumens. Yeah, that’s old. Still, it is enough light to identify your target at pistol-engagement distances.

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My Wife has been Bitten by the Prepping Bug

Some preppers complain about unsupportive spouses, but I’ve never had that problem. Lately, my wife is becoming quite gun ho.

I’ve been a hardcore prepper for a couple of decades. My wife? Not so much. She has been more than tolerant of my prepping, rarely complains about the money I spend, and is never obstructionist. She says nothing about the number of guns I own or the 5-gallon buckets piled up in our garage. More importantly, she willingly moved to our prepper property in the Appalachian mountains.

Lately, she’s begun showing tendencies of a more serious prepper. For example, I’ve caught her buying extra food at Walmart, something I usually do, and the last time she went to Costco she brought home a 25-pound bag of rice. Last week, she voluntarily ate two MRE entrees. (That’s a record for a woman who says she won’t eat Spam until TEOTWAWKI.) Then she told me she wants to buy a new holster.

The other day she asked if I thought the five cords of wood we had were enough for the winter. I explained it may not be, but I’m running out of storage space. My plan is to burn one and then replace it with new wood.

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Our New Dog is Sneaky

Sometimes I wish I had a dumb dog, a dog that wasn’t smart enough to be mischievous or sneaky. But I don’t think that would be anywhere near as fun.

I’m beginning to think we should have named our Anatolian Shepherd “Sneaky” because, well, she is.

Annie is a pretty big dog. More than 70 pounds, she will probably will top off around 85, but she can squeeze through a tiny hole. Three times in the past four days, she has done exactly that.

Each morning we go on a lengthy walk and then we come back to our property and I do my chores. While I am feeding the chickens, I lock the dog in the fenced garden, which is attached to the chicken run. She’s usually fine with this. She either lies down near the chickens or she chases grasshoppers, which is a fun diversion for us both. (Seeing a big dog pounce on the abundant grasshoppers and then snap at them when the fly off is may sound amusing, but I promise you, it is even more fun in person.)

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Goldenrod and Asters Help our Bees Prep for Winter

You could consider bees preppers. They stock up nectar (carbs) and pollen (protein) to help carry them through the long. cold winter.

The goldenrod and several varieties of aster have been blooming for a couple weeks, but I haven’t seen bees on them until this week.

Both flowers are known for providing bees with critical nectar and the pollen they need to bulk up their stores and get prepared for the winter. It’s possible last week’s rain washed out some resources, and they weren’t worth gathering from them until things dried up. It’s also possible that the Jewel Weed, the Iron Weed, and other flowers were a bigger draw for the bees. Now these plants have gone to seed, so the bees are focusing on the goldenrod and asters, which are among the final blooms of the season.

Just another sign that fall is here. Time to get the hives prepared.

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Yesterday was “Eat like a Prepper Day” at our House

It’s important to test your preps so you know what to do when the SHTF. I recommend holding an “eat like a prepper day” a couple times a month.

I try to “eat like a prepper” at least once a week. This not only helps us use up and rotate our stored food, it allows us to test our stored food to make sure it is still good. For example, last week I ate a lentil stew MRE entrée that was made in 2014. Yep, it was fine.

For breakfast today, I made eggs over easy and served them over a can of corned beef hash. We usually buy and eat the Mary’s Kitchen brand of has from Hormel, but today I opened a can of Great Value hash I had bought from Walmart. We’d never eaten their brand of has before and I wanted to try it.

I had high hopes for the Great value hash because it has the same ingredients as the Mary’s Kitchen brand, and they are in the same order on the label. More importantly, the nutritional information is identical, from calories to grams of protein to the percent of vitamin RDA. This made me suspect that Walmart’s brand of hash is made by Hormel.

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Prepper Diary: Autumn Arrives in a Deluge

Autumn is bringing us rain, but also apples, hunting, and before long, fires in the wood stove to keep us warm.

If there was any doubt, nighttime temperatures in the 40s have announced the arrival of fall, which officially took place on Wednesday the 22nd. We have been experiencing rain and cooler temperatures much of this week.

I moved some firewood into the basement, but we are planning to hold off using the wood stove as long as possible. For now, I am wearing a fleece. Yesterday, I put on my wool socks for the first time since early spring.

This is the time of year when your electric bill drops. The AC doesn’t run, the heat doesn’t kick in. With any luck, our dehumidifiers will stop. (If not, they certainly will when we fire up the wood stove.)

Apple Season

Another sign of fall is trees filled with ripe apples. I’m looking forward to cider.

The tree in our main image is less than half a mile from our house and is growing at an old homestead. There’s nothing let of the homestead except the chimney, the spring, and five apple trees (the sixth one died) in drastic need of pruning. The neighbor who owns that land, which is on a bigger parcel, said half the apples are for eating, half for baking. We spotted at least three varieties.

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We Stock up on a Big Shopping Trip

The time has come to store food for the coming bad times. Fragile systems are collapsing and the weather is hurting global crop yields. We may have reached Peak Food.

Figuring that there may be lockdowns soon, we took a trip to see some good friends three hours away. We had a good time and had Chinese food for dinner, something that isn’t available in this remote corner of the world.

On the way home, we made a day of it and stopped at Costco, a bee supply store, the pet store, a drugstore, and squeezed in a side trip to a diner for lunch. Again, there are no traditional diners in our area, the where they serve breakfast all day long, so we have to take these small pleasures where we can find them.

I’ll probably write about the bee supply store on another day; this article is about stocking up at Costco and why you should do the same before it is too late.

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Road Repairs Underway Sooner than we Expected

A county crew was working on the dirt road leading up our mountain Thursday, so we went out to thank them and chatted for a while. They said they were just inspecting and doing the bare minimum on all the damaged roads to ensure they are passable. They will come back in a few weeks to do full repairs and re-grade it.

The lower portions of our road were deeply rutted from rushing water. My guess is that there were a couple hours in the midst of the storm where the road looked like a small river.

Apparently, even after 24 hours, some roads are still so flooded they cannot inspect them yet. Having a river view is nice, but there’s a downside of being on a river. We’re happy just with our creeks.

The downed trees have been cleared and we saw a couple power company trucks staged nearby. We hope to be back online with full posts tomorrow.

Prepper Diary July 12: I Put my New Woodworking Skills to Good Use

I’ve spent a good many hours in the workshop working on my projects. This weekend I tackled something my wife wanted me to do.

This weekend, I built my wife a shelving unit to go into the closet in the laundry room. I have to give her credit; she has been very patient waiting for me to finish the henhouse and beehives. It was good that she waited, however, because that meant I got to use the tools and skills I polished working on those other projects.

In fact, as I was building the shelf, I could not help thinking that building it was like building a giant beehive. I had to keep the corners square, each piece had to be the correct length, and I used my recently acquired dado skills to cut rabbet joints. I even used the same wood glue I use on the beehives, Titebond III.

It turned out great! Don’t get me wrong, this is not an heirloom piece of furniture. After all, I built it in just a few hours over two days, using the bed of my pickup truck as a workbench. It’s going to be behind closed doors in a closet, filled with gallon jugs of laundry detergent, so it doesn’t have to be a work of art, but it turned out square, level and true, it is very sturdy, and it will definitely get the job done, probably for several decades.

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