Posts Tagged ‘food’

Survival foods: Rodents

Posted: May 19, 2014 by Rex Trulove in Survival, survival food, wild food
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People can get a little squimish when it comes to the thought of eating certain foods. In a survival situation though, many food choices are mostly based on availability. This means that people must be willing to eat what is available. They can also be quite surprised to find that the food is tasty, though they might not have otherwise considered consuming it if the situation hadn’t be so dire.

Rodents fit into this catagory, because many people might not consider eating them and yet they can be delicious and healthful. Rodents are also found around the world. It should be considered that most rodents normally eat primarily vegetation, which is what livestock animals eat. Most are far from being ‘filthy’.

Voles, muskrats, beavers, nutria, lemmings, squirrels, porcupines and even mice are quite edible and are excellent sources of protein. They all populate quickly and survive in such varied habitats that it is hard to find an area that doesn’t have rodents, any time of the year. Some do hibernate in the winter, but others don’t.

Rabbits and hares are purposely not true rodents, though most people understand that they are edible. They are separate from rodents, in that they have double incisor teeth, one set in front of the other, instead of the single incisors of the rodents. For practical purposes, though, they can be added to the long list of rodents that can be eaten for survival.

They aren’t especially difficult to catch or clean, with the exception of porcupines, and homemade traps aren’t hard to make for this purpose. Cooking them also isn’t difficult since they can be fried, boiled, baked, barbecued, roasted or cooked almost any way that other meat can be.

Some cultures have been eating rodents for a long time as a normal part of their diet. In fact, some rodents are commonly eaten in even the United States, though people may not realize that they are eating rodents. High class restaurants routinely serve them, by using names that may not be familiar to the diners.

We will be looking further into some of the ways various rodents can be prepared to create delicious meals that will sustain a person as well as filling their bellies with great tasting food.

The picture is of a nutria, a quite edible rodent, and it was taken by , public domain,

Last in the series: Survival foods: Wild Mustard

ImageOne of the necessities if you are trying to survive an apocalypse of any sort is to make sure that you have something nutritious to eat. Thankfully, there are a lot of different wild plants that are quite edible, widespread, easy to identify and even tasty. Among this is a plant called Mallow, also known as Cheeses or Cheeseweed.

There are quite a few species of mallow, which means that one species or another can be found in most habitats and climates. They are also distributed nearly worldwide, excluding only Antarctica. In fact, as many gardeners will attest, once established, it is very hard to get rid of these plants without poisoning the soil.

Common mallow (Malva neglecta) is representative of the mallows. They tend to be low growing plants with a roundish leaf, deep green in color. The tap root is stout and long, and a new plant can arise from even a small piece of the root – part of the reason it is despised by gardeners. The blossoms are usually pinkish-white, normally with five petals. These give way to seeds that are arranged in a segmented circle, not unlike a round of cheese, hence their alternate name. A well-known member of the family is the garden hollyhock, which has a similar appearance to mallow, though usually much larger in all respects. (Hollyhock is also edible.)

The entire mallow plant is edible. Many kids have experienced munching on the raw cheeses. The leaves can be added to salads, raw, or they can be cooked as a potherb. Additionally, they can be added to soups and stews. The cheeses and the roots can also be cooked. When these are cooked, they release a sort of mucilage that can thicken soups or stews. This trait is one of the uses of a member of the family: Okra. The flowers can add a splash of color to salads.

Mallow also has medicinal properties. It is an expectorant, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and very mildly laxative. For these purposes, it is often made into a tea at a rate of one tablespoon of the leaves to a cup of boiling water. The leaves can also be dried for this purpose. The flavor is bland and the tea can be sweetened with honey. Externally, mallow is emollient and demulcent, so it can be rubbed on dry or chapped skin as well as on cuts, scrapes, insect bites and punctures.

This is a multi-purpose plant for survivalists and others. The plant is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. This makes it useful for hikers and campers, as well as for people who are just trying to stretch their meals.

It is good to become acquainted with this wild herb and to learn to identify it on sight. That way, should you ever find yourself in a survival situation, you will have at least one identifiable source of usually-plentiful food.

(The picture is by Soulignac (Gironde, France) 2004 – GFDL, creative commons share-alike, unported)

In today’s folklore, vampires appear much like anyone else, which means that anyone you know could be a vampire. So what do you do to figure out if someone is a vampire? Well, there are a few things you can try, such as creating a series of tests or look for specific signs of vampirism.

The main differences between vampires and humans are they are 1) nocturnal, and 2) extremely pale. However, these shouldn’t be your sole identifiers since humans can be nocturnal and pale. Given that Meyer’s vampires are daytime and sparkle in direct sunlight, you can rule out nocturnal in some cases, as well.

First, answer the questions below with a yes or no. If you have more than three yeses, you are likely in the middle of a vampire hunting ground.

  • Do you suddenly have no problems with rats or mice?
  • Do your dogs, or other smaller animals, vanish without warning?
  • Do your neighbors sport band-aids on their necks and seem lethargic?
  • Do your neighbors, family, and friends speak of strange dreams where someone attacks them?
  • Do they have lapses in memory (usually in connection with the band-aids)?
  • Do your neighbors, family, and friends suddenly act differently than what you have come to know of them?
  • Do they eat insects or talk with a horrible accent?

Now to start identifying who could be a vampire, you must ask another set of questions. More than five yeses will determine if the person you suspect of being a vampire really is one.

  • Does the person have elongated teeth, or pointed teeth?
  • Are the teeth stained red from the blood of their victims?
  • Do they seem to have continuous dry eyes?
  • Do their eyes turn red at random moments, especially during times of heightened emotion?
  • Do their eyes reflect light, usually a reddish color?
  • Do their eyes appear to be black, or randomly turn black (again more obvious during heightened emotions)?
  • Does their breath reek?
  • Does their breath smell of some kind of mint (vampires will often use mint to hide their horrible breath from normals)?
  • Do they seem excessively pale?
  • Do they wear unusual or outdated clothing?
  • Do they have an allergic reaction to sunlight, such as blisters forming on their skin when in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes?
  • Do they have excess hair or fur on their hands?
  • Do their fingernails end in a point or look more like claws?
  • If you were a religious icon, does it glow whenever they are around (this is the one case where a yes to this is indicative of vampirism)?
  • Do their manners reflect a different era?
  • Do they appeal to you in an extremely sexual way?
  • Do they seem to appear out of nowhere?
  • Or make very little sound when they move?
  • Do they move faster than the average person?
  • Are they stronger than the average person?
  • Are they supernaturally graceful in their movements?
  • Have you ever seen them eat food?
  • Do they seem to survive on a liquid diet?

Then, you should set up a collection of tests to make sure. The first test to devise is to see if they can enter your home without an invitation. There is a rule that anything evil will be unable to cross the portal into a place where people sleep. Once they have an invitation, however, they can come and go as they please, often after they have taken their pint of blood. Scatter seeds on your doorstep. If the person stops to count or collect the seeds, they could be a vampire. If they can enter the house, the next step is to make sure the house has crosses and mirrors. Vampires will do what they can to avoid mirrors and will flat hiss and cover their faces when around a crucifix or cross. Placing a plate of food liberally dosed with garlic will cause them to avoid the table or make excuses to leave. Also, you can fill a glass with holy water and either ‘accidentally’ spill it on them or allow them to drink from the glass. Normally steam will arise from the flesh the water was poured on, or the vampire will become amazingly sick if ingested. Finally, watch how animals react to the person in question. This is a bit iffy. Some people are not animal friendly and the animals can sense it. But if you have a vampire facing down an animal, the animal will either turn aggressive or flee at the sight of the vampire.

emergency kit photo: Deluxe Emergency kit 2 person DeluxeEmergencyKit2Per704-590.jpg

Emergencies are a fact of life. They can happen at any moment in time. Now, I’m not talking emergencies as in breaking a nail or a bad hair day. I’m talking stranded in the middle of nowhere, zombie apocalypse type emergencies. In cases like this it’s important to be prepared.

The point of the emergency kit is to be able to survive for a short period of time until help comes (if it comes).

Water first. Water is probably the most important asset to an emergency kit. Water can be stored for six months, but you need to make sure that the water is sealed in its container. Milk jugs have bad seals so are not recommended for long term water storage. Try to keep up on this, though. You may not think about how vital water is, but it is extremely important. And you will need about a gallon of water per person, per day.

Food is the next important issue. Packaged and canned goods are best, just make sure you have all the things required to make them. For instance, canned veggies and meats are good for this. FEMA states that you need to make sure to keep in mind any special diets that members of your family may need and avoid foods that make you thirsty.

You will need to do the same for pets. Buy a spare small bag of food for your specific animals and store extra water for them. Some animals should not eat foods meant for other animals. Cats need a much higher protein content than dogs, for instance.

Learn what you can about your area. From plants to geography. This information will come in handy in case of an emergency, especially in the form of an apocalypse.

Anyone with children can well attest to needing things to keep them preoccupied. Toys, coloring books, and crayons should serve that purpose. Books for older children. Babies should have spare cans of formula and extra packages of diapers set aside.

You should have a spare kit set aside with any emergency stash you have. This should be considered off limits except in emergency. It’s a good idea to keep another kit for semi-everyday use. Stash a small bottle of bleach aside for the purpose of purifying water.

Miscellaneous stuff should also be added to your kit. Women should take a moment to put aside extra monthly necessities (including a few changes of clothing). Flashlights and spare batteries are obvious. So are matches. A radio can be more helpful that you would think, for both entertainment and updates on what is going on around you and spare batteries for it. A can-opener (hand-operated) is necessary if you have canned goods stashed. Spare bedding and clothes. A pot, a pan, and silverware are necessary. Plastic and paper dishes could be bought and stashed with the kit. Candles would be handy so you don’t use up your batteries.

Finally, keep the kit where you can get to it. A specific closet in the house, the trunk of your cars, a drawer (you would need a very bare essential kit) in your office. Being able to have access to your kit is important so that you can keep updating it as necessary. Also, if an emergency hits, you don’t have to run around and throw things together… you would already have everything in one place! And don’t forget to make sure everyone in your family knows where it is at so if you aren’t around, they can get to it if needed.

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