What I Did This Week To Prep

Emily, Brynn, & Ryan & jam

The wild blackberries here in Western Washington have finally ripened. Ryan, Brynn, Emily, and I dressed in long pants, long sleeves and gloves, headed out to pick blackberries. We picked for an hour and ended up with about half a large bucket of them. The next day we made blackberry jam. Keep in mind, I’ve never made jam (or anything canned) before and I sure wish my mom lived closer. I read how to do it and got some guidance from a friend (thanks Rick). The three older kids and I formed sort of an assembly line system and made some jam. It turned out well, the flavor was good, and all of the jars properly sealed. We ended up with 20 half-pint jars to add to our SWYE shelves. We’ve all had a chance to sample the jam throughout the week and have an extra appreciation for how good it tastes.

Brynn had to do a demonstration of a skill for a class at school, so she asked me to review with her how to apply a tourniquet. A couple of months ago I had a fairly in-depth wound treatment / controlling bleeding class with the kids, including having all of them apply a pressure dressing. I showed them how to apply an easy, effective tourniquet, but didn’t have them do it themselves (I didn’t want to try to teach too much at one time). Brynn wanted to learn how to apply the tourniquet for her class demo. We reviewed how to control bleeding and when to responsibly apply a tourniquet. I put one on her so she could feel it and see the effectiveness; I then had her put one on me, practicing several times including going over her verbal instructions. Afterward she said her class paid attention and her presentation went well.

In the early fall, one of the things I enjoy is sharing the harvest. Since we kept our garden pretty small this year, planted several perennials that won’t produce until next year, and had only limited success – we didn’t have much extra. But I’ve had friends at work bring me tomatoes, greens, and cucumbers to share. One good friend (who reads my blog) responded, when I thanked him for sharing, “That’s what we preppers do”. All I could do was smile.

As mentioned, we didn’t get many ripe of tomatoes this year (the remaining green ones will end up as green salsa, hopefully this weekend) which made the ones we were able to pick taste that much better. So, for Sunday dinner, the BLTs with tomatoes from our garden were extra good and appreciated by all.

Ryan and I replaced the alternator in our ’84 Jeep CJ. This is significant because I’ve never been very mechanically inclined, and had never done anything like that before. While this isn’t really a traditional prepper skill, it is important because we were developing a new skill set – this time in a mechanical realm. The advantage of our older Jeep is that it has an engine that can be worked on without having to plug in the onboard diagnostic computer (there isn’t one). So we learned more about our vehicle’s engine and electrical system, and we saved money.

What did you do? (Feel free to share in the comments section)

(Monday: Buying Stuff Is Easy)

(10/9/11)

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