This guest post is by Desert Fox and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
I’ve been lucky in my life by having begun it elsewhere in the world. I remember as a child the bullets my parents had to dodge so they could be in the bread lines to provide food for their children. Now that I live in such an abundant country, I revel in the memories because they serve me well.
Surviving has always been a part of my life. Always having a stash of extra canned foods,extra flour, extra dried milk, even the luxuries of extra sugar and extra coffee! Having lived in many parts of the US I’ve learned a little of a lot. I’m definitely not a master of anything and cannot repair a car, but I get by when minor things need to be done around me. As I gain in age, it does limit me a little — I no longer pack a 40-60 pound backpacks but know I still can if I need to.
Pluck a chicken? Skin a rabbit or deer? Those were lessons I learned by necessity. The first time I skinned a rabbit it took me a few hours (a little at a time)! Now I know it can be done in less than fifteen minutes by cutting at the base of the tail, the inside of the legs and remove the skin like a sock! I’ve had friends who could not even hear how a chicken was butchered and cleaned. They were happy just to go to market and buy one! Cut the head off and put it in a 5-gallon bucket until it stops kicking then pour boiling water on it to soften the feathers for plucking. Of course remove the insides and the talons and voila`! Well, it’s not pretty but necessary! Get acquainted on butchering wildlife or domestics. You don’t have to do it now,but at least know that you can do it. The skins alone will be valuable in winter. As I’m finding out, there are videos and books on just about how to do anything on the internet!
Having the supplies is not enough, however, for when the necessity arises. If you have wheat berries, you need to learn how to turn it into flour and then turn it into bread, and a grinder is not that cheap but a necessity. They are available today as opposed as later when everyone wants one! Learn to make a sourdough starter or get some from a friend for leavening bread; You can bake sweeter breads (pumpkin or squash) in a mason jar and preserve it for a very long time (it’sdelicious!). Just make sure you compile your supplies according to what you and your family like. There is no need to have some dried mushrooms if no one will eat them ~ Iremember when I was young, having rice pudding every day for dinner for a few weeks as it was easier to get rice and canned milk than meat and potatoes (and us kids didn’t mind one bit!)
Teach your young kids or grandkids to eat what is put in front of them. A lot of small children are given passes at the dinner table when given a food they’ve nevertasted. I’ve always told my kids that I will cook one meal for dinner and not one for each kid. It’s okay not to like a specific food, but is also important that kids learn to appreciate what you can provide for them–it might be the only thing they’ll have at the time.
I’ve lived in Alaska a while and learned to can fish and chicken and make jerky. A Little Chief Smoker is a great plus for a household. (You can find it at most hardware stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart) Smoking meat is an alternate to preserving it in the absence of refrigeration. Brine the meat in a mixture of soy sauce,garlic and brown sugar for a couple of hours (longer if you want it saltier – but not too long or it will be salty!) and smoke it for about 5-7 hours. You can then can it or vacuum pak it. Fruit trees (apple, cherry) are great as smoker chips as well as Alder. I made the mistake of using yellow cedar once (long ago) since it was easy to burn and it smelled great! – it turned the meat a beautiful reddish color and I was so happy and proud of my product until I tasted it… it was bitter! Yuck!
Don’t forget to add to that gun arsenal some fishing tackle(at least some fishing line and various sizes of hooks) and, a very usable and seldom thought of… slingshot! Squirrels and birds are eatable too! Oh yes, just a thought, dogs and cats when not fed regularly will become wild too! So beware.
Have you thought of saving some needles and thread to make repairs on your clothes? These items are rarely mentioned in any survival lists! Today we just throw our socks away when they get holes or give our clothes to Sally’s when they rip a little (isn’t that true?). Your Bug Out bag should have some needles and thread as well as a pair of scissors and heavy-duty thread to make repairs on shoes or traps. Extra buttons are also a good thing to have – you can always cut a small piece of twig to use as a button (but you’ll need that needle and thread!).
By the way, also remember to put aside some good books,paper and pencils, a few games and deck of cards. Kids love colored pencils (have a small sharpener with it). Your mind, specially, needs to stay sane and happy so you can emit good energy around you. Add a small harmonica too!
I’ve learned to make soaps and candles. I save a lot of candle leftovers and friends give me their leftover candles. Ire-melt them in a quart can with a squeezed side for a spout and put the can in a double boiler (a pan with water). Pour the melted wax into smooth-sided tin cans (the cans have tobe smooth on the inside so you can take the candle out!). Put a hole in the bottom of the smooth tin can for the wick (a thin cut of cotton cloth will do) and cover the hole and wick with duct tape to keep the wax from escaping after you fill it. Tie the other end of the wick to a nail or skewer to keep it taught at the center of the can until the wax has cooled. I usually place the tin can in a bowl of cold water when pouring hot wax as it helps to catch spills. As the candle cools in the tin can, it will sink in the middle and create a hole;you will need to pour more melted wax to refill the center (this can be optional – but it makes the candle whole).
Another way for used candles is to put small pieces in your tin can (mold) and pour plain melted wax on top of the pieces to cover. They make pretty candles and you can add some scent and color to the plain wax before pouring. Although when in survival mode all you want is light; a favorite scent is not bad for your wellbeing. As for the soaps…I’m researchingon making my own lye and getting a
As much as you think you are prepared for anything, it is very easy to fall into a false security. It has happened to me once in a while.As time passes in your daily living, you might borrow somethings from your survival pockets for an immediate need and unless you religiously replace the item, it might get left out altogether until you must have it and it’s nowhere to be found.That’s why it is very important to schedule regular checks and balances.
Don’t prepare just for the future while you wait for those“worse times” to come, or keep all your supplies in one place.We read books or go to the movies to be transported to another exciting world; little do we recognize that our own lives can be just as exciting.As we gather our necessities we can really imagine we are elsewhere and even in dangerous situations that we need to get out of.I have a favorite novel I read every now and then to bring me back to reality and remind me it’s again time to prepare.
Life is an unstoppable adventure!
basic recipe in terms that will be usable when I can no longer get what I need by mail. Soap is one of the most important things we can have in times of emergencies for prevention of illnesses and sanitation.
I just recently realized I don’t have “goodies” instorage. My granddaughters reminded me the necessity of “feel-good” food…chocolates, cookies, puddings and so on. Those are easily packed for long-life storage by vacuum packing them in canning jars. A vacuum packer is an excellent investment! specially the ones with a jar attachment, or just ziplock bag them and remove as much air as possible, rotating them once a year. Add a little oil to the ziplock opening before sealing to prevent air to coming back in.
As much as you think you are prepared for anything, it is very easy to fall into a false security. It has happened to me once in a while. As time passes in your daily living, you might borrow somethings from your survival pockets for an immediate need and unless you religiously replace the item, it might get left out altogether until you must have it and it’snowhere to be found. That’s why it is very important to schedule regular checks and balances.
Don’t prepare just for the future while you wait for those“worse times” to come, or keep all your supplies in one place. We read books or go to the movies to be transported to another exciting world; little do we recognize that our own lives can be just as exciting. As we gather our necessities we can really imagine we are elsewhere and even in dangerous situations that we need to get out of. I have a favorite novel I read every now and then to bring me back to reality and remind me it’s againtime to prepare.
Life is an unstoppable adventure!
This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:
First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following; (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.
Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.
Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.
Contest ends on August 7 2012.