There are many things you can do at the onset of a disaster. Most people panic. But when you panic, it leads to drastic and dangerous decision making. Panic leads to the type of radical actions that get people hurt or killed. Another thing people do at the onset of disaster is freeze. They haven’t […]
It’s the reason many big companies today are advertising to kids. It’s the reason app developers have stopped pandering to adults as a middleman to the children. It’s in the actions taken by nonprofits and institutions around the nation to create junior ambassadors. The children are the future. Their power simply cannot be denied.
But if we are not growing our own little ambassadors to fight for the cause of liberty and freedom, then how can we expect that heavy torch to be carried into the future? How can we expect the kids to be more self-reliant and independent? The answer is we cannot.
In this age of technological convenience, we must be creative if we hope to grip our children with seemingly ancient ideas of freedom and preparedness. With services like Amazon that deliver anything you ever could want to your doorstep, how can you convince them that doing things the hard way and the old way is needed?
So, what can we do to create a more prepared family?
Here’s one solution: Blend their interests and desires into activities that bring them closer to self-reliance and preparedness. You see, to be an effective teacher or parent you must carry at least a bit of deception in your arsenal.
Here are five activities:
If you are looking to get the family outside and hunt for some “buried treasure,” there is really no substitute for geocaching. It’s a game of following coordinates via GPS on your smartphone to a location where someone has hidden a cache.
These caches contain very small items … and sometimes contain nothing. You can trade for items in the cache or just sign the booklet inside to let the next explorer know who was there before them.
Geocaching gets the kids outside and teaches them about the powerful method of hiding survival caches. Your survival caches may be filled with bullets and food storage, but these are a little more kid-friendly.
Gone are the days when martial arts were exclusively for the tough guys. Even MMA gyms have incredible kid’s programs that teach them self-defense, among other great lessons. There is simply no better method than to throw them in a class with people their age who will quickly become their friends.
Spend time teaching your kids the good stuff. There are a lot of martial arts out there, but the fact is some are just more effective than others. Consider getting your kids into the following disciplines:
- Muay Thai
- Jiu Jitsu
- Krav Maga
Minecraft is a totally creative buildable universe where your characters can work together not just to build cool structures but also to craft all the tools you’ll need to do so. This crafting element helps kids understand the manipulation of base materials and how they can be turned into something useful.
Example: If you are going to put glass windows in your home, you must collect sand and place it in your furnace. To power your furnace, you either will have to mine coal or make charcoal from wood.
The survival mode also requires you to hunt or farm to feed yourself. You must build shelter to protect yourself from many of the enemies.
In Minecraft, you also will have an inventory to manage. This means you will only have so much room to keep items that you collect.
The game is a blast with kids, and there is no other outlet where you can combine so many survival principles in a fun and enjoyable night-in. All the while, they will be learning about things like resources, crafting, farming, disaster, recovery and adaptability.
If your kids are old enough to shoot, then this is one of the most important things you can do as a family.
Our Second Amendment rights are constantly under fire, and we need a generation of responsible gun owners to take our place. If our kids are going to fight for our rights, they must understand the truth about what a gun is, what it’s capable of and — most importantly — how to safely own and use one.
You can mutate your camping trips into bug-out trips. It’s a very easy scenario to pose to the kids. Make your camping adventures a little more impromptu and try to utilize as little convenience as possible. Take your bug-out bags and use what’s inside of them.
Challenge your kids to leave the electronics at home and bring with them only their wits. Of course, this will put more pressure on you to keep them entertained. Don’t worry; I have answers for that, too.
- Navigation with a compass.
- Finding wild edibles.
- Watching wildlife.
Camping is a no-brainer, but you can take it to another level if you are smart about how you spend your time.
There is an old saying: “Bait your hook with your heart and they will always bite.” When it comes to your family, it’s no different. Show them your passion and then compromise to make it fun for them.
What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
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The struggle to keep and store enough food is not a new problem, and as far back as 12,000 B.C., there is evidence of food preservation. The greatest tools to the ancients would have been sun and wind. Of course, we also can look to the Native Americans to learn how food was preserved. They smoked and salted meat to make it last longer.
Or we can look to the classically trained chefs of the 1800s. Their stories may not be as exciting or as fraught with peril as the American pioneers, but under certain kings they could be one bad meal away from the gallows!
1. Fat cap
Fat has an astounding ability to preserve. This is especially true when it rises to the top and seals in food. When fat cools and seals food in, it also keeps oxygen out. Without that precious oxygen, it takes much longer for the food to spoil. That is because bacteria need oxygen to proliferate.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this fat or fat cap is to create a stock or broth. Bone broth has become very popular and would work here, as well. As you simmer the bones in your stock or broth, try not to skim off the fat. (Although you do need to skim off the foam and impurities.)
As this mixture cools, you will see the fat cap begin to rise, form and solidify. Store this somewhere cool. A refrigerator is ideal for the modern homesteader, but a cool basement will work, as well, particularly in colder temperatures. In the fridge, you will get up to a month if you leave the fat cap undisturbed; you could get up to two weeks in a nice cool area.
2. Salt cure and hang
This is a combination of techniques and is one of my very favorite preparations. The best method comes from the world-famous chef, Jacques Pepin.
Traditionally it is to be used on the pork picnic or hind quarters. You will first have to salt this piece of meat for 30 days. Place it in a large container or odorless trash bag. Cover it completely with salt and leave it in a cool place for a month.
After the month is up, wipe off the salt, but do not rinse it because we are in the business of dehydration with this preparation; rub it with some whiskey or bourbon. In France, they would tell us to use cognac but we are in America so I use what we make here.
Next, wrap this beauty in some cheesecloth or a breathable chef’s coat.
The timing is critical, as it will take six months to hang and dry. You must be aware of your climate and the time of the year. To do this right, you need a nice cool, dry environment that will stay that way for most of the six months. On the East Coast, that means hanging your pork around September or October and pulling it down in March or April.
After about three months, unwrap your meat and give it a look. Make sure it hasn’t fallen prey to bugs or something bigger! Also, there may be some mold growing on this meat and you will need to trim that off, as well. Rewrap and hang for the remainder of time.
Once you have reached the six-month mark, drop your meat and bring it inside. Touch the meat; is it springy in the center or solid? Cut it in half and look it over. If it’s not completely dry, it will still be gummy in the middle. Wrap it again and hang it for another month. If it’s dry, shave off any mold and unsightly pieces.
Eat it raw or use it to flavor soups, pastas and stews.
In today’s world, this might sound like a lot of work for something you cannot eat for six months, but if you killed an animal in September and you could have access to the meat six months later, that would be a huge benefit to the people who are storing food.
I have used this on the following cuts of meat as well:
- Beef shoulder — same prep as pork
- Deer hind quarter — same prep as pork
- Duck breast — salt one week; hang 1 month
- Goose breast — salt two weeks; hang 2 months.
The rillette is a preparation that also takes advantage of the powerful preserving qualities of fat. This preparation is traditionally used for rabbit and is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a good hare.
The meat of a rabbit should be roasted slow and low in an oven until it gets tender. It is then minced or processed in a food processor with a mix of herbs. (Chefs of the 1800s, of course, would have used cleavers.) For this flavor, use lavender, thyme and oregano. Chill the meat at this point.
Add fat to this mixture, as that is what makes it a rillette. Traditionally duck fat is used for this and you want the mix to be pretty creamy. In other words, add chilled fat slowly into your food processor until you achieve a good balance. Season it if you wish with salt and pepper.
Divide your rillette into smaller containers and top each with some warmed duck fat that will harden like the fat cap we mentioned earlier.
I am not positive on shelf life of the rillette because they get eaten fast. I bet if you had tops to cover them and buried this in the ground during winter, they would last at least a month.
I have saved my very favorite chef prep method for last. To “confit” is to cook on extremely low heat, submerged in fat. It is basically deep fat baking instead of frying. The results are totally different from that of deep fat frying, though. Meat is transformed into something incredible at these low temps.
We will focus on duck legs, as that is the classic meat used. Salt the duck legs for 24 hours and cover them with a little fresh thyme. After 24 hours, rinse and place the legs in a nice deep baking dish. Next, cover with duck fat and bake at about 200 degrees for six hours.
The legs become juicy, tender and incredibly succulent. They are also covered in fat. I am sure you know where this is going. Once cooled, the fat will harden and prevent spoilage. Shelf life: one month.
What are your favorite old-time meat preservation methods? Share your tips in the section below:
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