Thursday, March 1, 2012

February in Review and March 2012 Preps

I know I think about TEOTWAWKI more than your average citizen, but hasn't the weather over the past year just been crazy? Last summer much of country experienced record heat and drought and now this?

These daffodils are at least two weeks ahead of schedule.

Our extremely mild winter has led these daffodils to believe it is mid-March. It makes me paranoid about further weather weirdness. Just what is in store for us this summer?

Darn paranoia.

What did I manage to accomplish during this strange February?

February Preps:

1) I mastered the art of making delicious homemade pizza in five minutes with common ingredients from my food storage. A little practice (and the purchase of an amazing peel that really makes the process foolproof) was all it took.

2) Did you know how expensive quality outdoor extension cords are? I didn't, but I sure do now! I bought an 100 footer to power up my chicken coop. I comforted myself with the thought that an extension cord is a very good general prep, assuming that we have power!

3) I bought and am in the process of reading through an interesting gardening book, Gaia's Garden: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture. I still don't like the title, but I am getting a lot of ideas for our survival orchard. The good news is that many of the plants that are beneficial to include in orchard setups also have medicinal properties. One of my long-term goals was to plant a medicinal herb garden, so the orchard will end up being a two-for-one special.

4) Speaking of the orchard-to-be, I put in several orders for the more exotic items I need for our big planting day in March. You just can't find mycorrhizal inoculant and humic acids at the local farm supply store!

Behold, the fungus! This pricey mycorrhizal inoculant is the key
to growing fruit organically.

Unfortunately those orchard purchases used up all my budget, so I wasn't able to make any headway in the areas of first aid or food storage (unless you count our potential fruit harvests as future food storage!) Well, there's always next month.

The new boxes are yellow ones on the right. They will weather to the same color as the old boxes. 

Hubby Dear and I took advantage of our cuckoo weather and worked out in the garden quite a bit. We constructed the new garden boxes for part one of our expansion, laid down landscaping cloth, and put the boxes in place. The next step will be to make Mel's Mix and fill all the boxes. We'll be planting outside very soon.

My chicks will be arriving even before that.  The kids and I are practically giddy with excitement so we went ahead and set up their home.

For the first month or so, I want to keep the chicks indoors. I might regret that in a few weeks, but for now, I think I'll want to keep a close eye on the little buggers. We chose to set up their brooder in a bathroom since I can pretty much hose down the entire area if necessary. The amount of dust that chicks raise is supposed to be prodigious.

I put down several layers of cardboard, set up the plastic brooder guard to contain the wee beasties, and then put down a couple of inches of pine shavings.

Have a brooder, just need the chicks!

Then I covered up the shavings with a layer of paper towels. These towels will be replaced as necessary for the first week or so. This will encourage the chicks to eat their food, not the shavings. I tested the  heat lamp and adjusted its height so that the temperature at chick height will be around 95 degrees. All that's left to do is fill up the feeder and water fount and we're set.

March Preps: 

1) Chickens!  
-The little buggers will finally get here sometime between March 6-8.

2) Finish chicken moat
-The north end of the chicken moat still needs to be fenced in.

3) Buy a compost bin
-It's strange that we've never ventured into composting despite our interest in organic gardening. I guess I have been too focused on all the other aspects of gardening. Since we're about to have a flock of 17 chickens in addition to our two rabbits, waste management necessitates a venture into composting.

4) Plant orchard and cold-hardy garden vegetables
-March is the first really busy garden month. Our apples, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberry plants are due to arrive and we'll be planting peas, potatoes, and other spring vegetables soon.

5) Buy a few more odds and ends for the orchard 
-I still need to get items for the holistic sprays I'll be using on our fruit - neem oil, effective microbes, and molasses. I'll talk more about these things in future posts.

6) Begin upgrade of our bug out bags (BOBs)
-I know I've been pushing the homesteading aspect quite heavily recently; here's something for you hardcore survivalists. :) I bought our BOBs quite early on in my prepping career and I have learned a few things that I should do differently. I plan to make some changes and upgrade the quality of the equipment over the next few months.

7) First aid
-I'll work on this, I promise! I say that every month, but I really mean it this time. ;)

That's me. How did you prepare during the month of February and/or what do you have in store for March?


  1. Hi Emily, looks like your February was busy, even if you didn't get to those first aid supplies. My February was busy, too. Although I didn't get to add a new sewing skill or try a canning project, I(1) added lots to my first aid supplies with left over Flexible Spending Account monies from 2011 (love the rolled-over grace period), (2)learned how to make my own yogurt, (3)added to to my long-term food storage, (4)Bought a FoodSaver Sealer.

    My March goals are to (1)focus on OTC meds and some antibiotics for the medical supplies (2)try a simple canning project (3)purchase the water filter I researched to death (4)fill and prep the water barrel in the basement (5)start on the 72-hour kit/BOB for myself (so I will be anxious to read your post on your updated bags).

    I so look forward to your blogs. Happy March!

  2. Thanks, Anonymous! You've been busy and productive. You're doing great!