Have you ever experienced, wanting to order your favorite meal at a restaurant only to discover it’s no longer available? For fish lovers, this may be in your future. In 2017, many major newspapers around the world wrote articles about the demand for fish and the shortages to […]
Angling, a lost art for survival and the soul
James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!
There may be no greater way to find balance in this mad mad mad mad world than to stand on the banks of a river in July with the sun winking at you from the horizon. Fishing rod in hand, you take that first step into the water and the day begins. There are fish to be had, sights to be seen and, of course, the thrill of entering an environment that is so alien to your everyday, yet, so inviting.
Food & Water
Many people have read the dire warnings about the health consequences of consuming fish and shellfish. These admonishments usually center on mercury contamination—most of which is produced by coal-fired facilities, chlorine production, and mining—which is converted to an organic form of mercury (methylmercury) by the action of various aquatic micro-organisms. This organic form of mercury comes to be located in marine animals and bioaccumulates as one ascends the trophic ladder as progressively larger animals consume smaller ones. Mercury is a real threat because it is linked to cognitive impacts in children (e.g., loss of IQ points, problems with attention, decreased memory function) and various health effects in adults (e.g., cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease). People are frequently told (through various media) to limit fish consumption to prevent mercury poisoning.
These warnings are most often directed toward pregnant women, with the intent of protecting the fetus. And, like most health sound bites, turn out to be overly simplified and mostly wrong.
Health is more nuanced than “do this” and “don’t do this”, and, as usual, the mercury story told in this country is based on faulty science, perpetuates an incomplete story, and leads to worse outcomes than if the health precautions were completely ignored. Therefore, despite the ever-present cautions, I would highly recommend you consume marine fish and shellfish, especially if you are an expecting mother, so long as you understand a few details. Read on.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain fatty acid crucial for human health. It is a fat that can be found in a variety of animal foods and some marine algae, occurring most abundantly in some ocean fish and shellfish. While adults suffer a range of problems when they consume a diet limited in DHA (e.g., depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, age-related cognitive decline), it is the fetal impacts I will highlight here. This fatty acid is necessary for brain development of the fetus and the growing child. Deficiencies in DHA affect intelligence, problem solving, and eyesight. I want to be very clear: low intake of DHA by the mother results in lower IQ scores and suboptimal brain development in children. This fat belongs to a class of lipids called omega 3, which are essential to obtain in the diet because the body cannot manufacture them. Like many essential items we derive from our diet, there are different forms that occur in plants than in animals. This is another case where the plant form (called alpha-linolenic acid, abbreviated ALA) must be converted through a complex process to create DHA. This conversion process is inefficient, and even in healthy adults only 5–10% of the consumed ALA ends up becoming DHA. Further, many factors inhibit this process, including high intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which are exceedingly common in the Standard American Diet and in vegetarian diets. Therefore, it is important to consume preformed DHA—which is the kind found abundantly in many fish and shellfish. But wait, aren’t these dangerous to consume?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set guidelines for fish intake by pregnant mothers to protect the mother and, especially, the fetus from the effects of mercury. For decades, these warnings have limited the intake of foods that are an important source of DHA in the diet.
But, like the fat and cholesterol warnings, the mercury warnings also turn out to be based on cherry-picked data and an incomplete understanding of the topic.
Three major studies occurred in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s to ascertain the safety of consuming fish. Two of the studies demonstrated no negative impacts and one of them (the Faroe Islands Study) did. This latter study was used to demonstrate the harm of mercury contamination in fish and establish the warnings we are all familiar with. Because we are a reactive society that responds to fear-based recommendations, the warnings were so effective that a 2010 study found that pregnant women were not eating the suggested number of fish meals per week.
There are several pieces of this puzzle that must be explained to help you (the reader) understand why the dietary mercury warnings may be misguided. To begin, mercury is not directly toxic to the body, but instead wreaks its havoc by deactivating very important enzymes that contain selenium. These enzymes—selenoenzymes—function as antioxidants to protect fats and proteins from damage by oxidation. If the body contains ample stores of selenium, mercury cannot catastrophically interfere with these enzymes. In other words, selenium is protective of mercury toxicity. Of importance to this discussion is that many fish and shellfish contain abundant selenium in their tissues (or, put another way, the ratio of selenium to mercury is high). Through providing dietary selenium, these foods are not the danger we have been told regarding mercury. While single fish meals are not the issue here (it is the cumulative selenium and mercury ingested in the overall diet), it is useful to note that some fish, such as shark, contain little selenium compared with the mercury they provide (i.e., the selenium to mercury ratio is low). Therefore, such fish might best be limited without a good intake of selenium in diet. On the other end of the spectrum, fish such as tuna, flounder, pollock, and salmon supply much more selenium than mercury. (Note: plant foods such as Bazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and several grains can also supply substantial quantities of selenium and can be part of the overall strategy to protect the body from mercury in the diet).
Now, back to the studies used to demonstrate harm from ocean foods due to their mercury content. The Faroe Islands study turns out to be a terrible study to use for several reasons. Most importantly, the residents of the Faroe Islands were eating pilot whales (genus Globicephala), species that contain extremely high amounts of mercury in its tissues—far too much to be mitigated by the co-occurring selenium. Not to mention, this study had many other confounding issues, including (but not limited to) additional environmental toxins found in the pilot whale that could be responsible for the observed health issues, the study methods themselves, and the genetics of the resident population.
Another important part of this discussion that is not addressed by the warnings to limit fish and shellfish is that some foods help to bind ingested mercury and prevent its absorption by the body (the mercury is ultimately excreted during evacuation of the large intestine). This strategy changes the effective selenium to mercury content of the food as experienced by the body. These foods offer another layer of protection from mercury. Two important foods to mention (among several) are chlorella and plants containing insoluble fiber. Examples of the latter include fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. These foods are effective at trapping consumed mercury and carrying it out of the body. Chlorella (a blue-green alga) and the insoluble-fiber-rich foods can be ingested in the same meal as the fish and/or shellfish and prevent a large proportion of the mercury from entering the bloodstream.
As are often the case, the dietary recommendations supplied to the public in the United States are overly simplified and lack the necessary nuance reflected by the complexity of issues involved. Whether or not a person will experience harmful effects from ingesting mercury in food depends on many factors, including the species consumed, the intake of selenium in the diet, and the amount of insoluble fiber eaten in the same meal. Importantly, the avoidance of foods rich in DHA have consequences, especially to developing humans, that can limit full intellectual development (among other real risks).
The general tact in many dietary circles is complete avoidance of foods believed to be dangerous, despite the fact those foods supply critical nutritional elements that may be difficult to acquire in sufficient amounts elsewhere.
I suggest it might be advantageous to utilize strategies to minimize the harm from such foods, rather than avoid such foods outright (there is net benefit using this approach). Sustainably harvested fish and shellfish represent some of the only wild foods that can be acquired in the marketplace. These foods that are extremely valuable due to the DHA and selenium they supply, and other items not discussed here (e.g., vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins). The story of mercury in fish and shellfish is a good example of what happens when we allow fear to rule our dietary choices.
Tagged: seafood, mercury, health, healthy eating
By Arthur Haines
The post Why You Should Consume Seafood … Despite the Warnings appeared first on WWW.AROUNDTHECABIN.COM.
Select the Best Survival Fishing Pole How come we rarely see a picture of a survivor that features a nice sturdy fishing pole? They have gas masks, tactical tomahawks, AR15s and all sorts of other weapons but you never see someone carrying around a fishing pole. Let me tell you something. Shooting a deer with …
I often ask myself, what is healthy for my family to eat? This post is a follow up to yesterday’s whole food post, as in my fruits and vegetable article. I really want people to think whether the food they feed their family is healthy or not. Here’s the deal, I can’t make that decision for you, and you wouldn’t want me to. We all have different tastes, needs and wants for meals. Here is the post on Whole Foods. I read books, research and watch documentaries to learn whatever I can to live a healthy life.
I need to lose a few pounds, okay several pounds, and I need to exercise, you know I need to keep moving. I spend about 6-8 hours a day on my blog sitting with two laptops. One is used for typing, the other for research. I started going to a dog park almost every day recently with my new puppy, Bentley. He’s now a year old. I walk around and meet other dog owners and it’s great to socialize with people each day. Plus, Bentley gets to run off some of his energy.
Today, I want to compare different foods and the nutrients they contain. It’s so funny because people will sometimes say to me “what protein do you eat if you are vegan?” Yesterday, I talked about vegans and vegetarians. Oh, I can hear some people screaming right now, what no meat? Yep, that would be Mark. He would never scream, he just loves eating meat, any kind of meat or fish. I do not. I may have a bite or two of filet mignon. Sometimes, I may even eat a hamburger occasionally if I know the meat is organic and grass fed.
Let’s get started with the nutrients in some items we may or may not eat every day. I have to add in donuts (doughnuts) and apple fritters just because I sometimes have one. How much protein is on that bagel, donut (doughnut) or apple fritter I had for breakfast? Do I dare admit I have had 6-8 pumpkin cookies for breakfast, every once in a while? How much protein is in those? I think you know what I mean, we need to be mindful of the healthy food we put into our bodies, and also the not so healthy food.
I know we have all heard, “we are what we eat.” I think it comes down to making sure we are feeding our bodies healthy nutritious calories. The numbers below are only approximate numbers due to the size and quantity consumed. Note that the percentages shown are based on the “% daily value.”
Is This Food Healthy For Your Family
Protein: 2.1 g
Sugar: 11 g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin B-6: 0%
Vitamin C: 1%
Potassium: 86 mg
Protein: 10 g
Sugar: 6 g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin B-6: 5%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 162 mg
Protein: 6 g
Vitamin A: 5%
Vitamin B-6: 5%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 63 mg
Protein: 8 g
Sugar: 13 g
Calories: 1 cup=103
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin B-6: 5%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 366 mg
Protein: 43 g
Calories: 1 cup=230
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin B-6: 40%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 360 mg
Protein: 13 g
Sugar: 5 g
Calories: 1 single patty=250 calories
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin B-6: 5%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 166 mg
Protein: 3 g
Calories: 1 slice cooked=43
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin B-6: 0%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 45 mg
Protein: 27 g
Sugar: n/a or unknown
Calories: 3 ounces=200
Vitamin A: n/a or unknown
Vitamin B-6: 37%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 423 mg
Protein: 40 g
Sugar: n/a or unknown
Calories: 0.5 fillet=412
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin B-6: 65%
Vitamin C: 12%
Protein: 25 g
Sugar: n/a or unknown
Calories: 3 ounces=160
Vitamin A: 42%
Vitamin B-6: 20%
Vitamin C: 0%
Potassium: 275 mg
I hope this gives you some ideas as to the nutrients in the food you decide is healthy or not for your family. I would love a farm with grass-fed meat to sell, chickens to produce eggs to help pay for the farm expenses. I would love to grow food year round and live off the land. My grandson and I talk about it all the time. I can dream, right? Mark has no desire for a farm at our age. I get it. But I have always wanted a little farm with fruit trees and an extra large garden. We had a half acre lot in Logan/Cache Valley, Utah once and it was awesome! We produced and preserved enough fruits and vegetables for our family for a year. We loved it and it taught our girls to work. Mark wondered how “awesome” it was after he had spent over three hours just mowing the lawn each week. We’d put out over ten bags of lawn clippings after we’d spread a bunch in the garden as a mulch. He did love taking the girls out in the evening to pick strawberries from the patch that divided our yard from the neighbor next door. The girls enjoyed picking the green beans from the plants so we could cook them for dinner, or get them ready to be canned. Fond memories of our time in Cache Valley.
Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.
My favorite things:
My book: “Prepare Your Family For Survival” by Linda Loosli
We have all heard about peak oil. But have you heard about “peak chicken?” Or peak almost everything else that composes the modern human diet—dairy, meat, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, vegetables, and sugar?
According to a study in Ecology and Society,1https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/ we’ve already been there and done that. We peaked on just about every food-related product considered critical to human survival, except farm-raised fish, in or before 2010.
Thank goodness for carp, catfish, and tilapia! If you don’t like those, you might want to start working on some new recipes and get used to them….
Once you get your head around the idea of peak food—meaning that food production is stagnant or declining—then do an Internet search for “world population clock.”
Sit back and watch as the world’s population increases before your eyes.
It is interesting to watch, until you do the math and realize that declining food production + increasing population = a big problem. Suddenly that population calculator looks a lot like a ticking time bomb, and the $60,000,000,000,000 (global public debt)2http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/ question is: “When does it explode?”
The truth is that we don’t know if, how, or when the bubble will burst.
Reason to Worry
But according to the authors of the Ecology and Society study, we should be worried. Their findings show that 20 of the 27 key resources for human survival peaked within the 50-year period ending in 2010.
The fact that so much of our food supply peaked within the same time frame makes sense at an intuitive level. Growing food with current industrial processes requires adequate water and fertile land suited to maneuvering large equipment. When we run out of fertile land, we develop undesirable land by leveling or clearing the earth, adding synthetic fertilizer, and pumping in water for irrigation. That works until we exhaust our water stores and deplete easily accessible nitrogen sources.
As land, water, and fertilizer become less available, the natural result is that food production declines, prices go up, and distribution gets contentious.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy countries like the United States have been insulated from most of the deprivations of peak food.
- But if you live in rural Mexico, you probably already know what a 733% increase in the cost of a staple like tortillas feels like.
- Or if you’ve lived in parts of Venezuela in the last few years, you know what it’s like to go to the grocery store and find the shelves inexplicably empty.
- In India, farming-related debt is so high and weather events are destroying crops so frequently that suicide among farmers has reached epidemic levels.
These are just a few examples of peak-food-related issues already occurring around the world.
According to the USDA’s Agricultural Projections through 2022,3https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf “Although agricultural prices decline in the near term, continued growth in global demand for agricultural products holds prices at historically high levels.” This means that for those of us who live in the United States, Japan, or the EU, our days of food cost stability are numbered as developing countries are expected to outpace us on demand, economic growth, and strength of currency in international markets.
Additionally, the USDA’s Food Price Outlook, 2017-20184https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ for the U.S. indicates that the most notable inflation increases in food have occurred, and will continue to occur, around the perimeter of the grocery store.
The Rise and Fall of Peak Nutrition
Poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, and fresh fruits—the most nutritious foods available—are becoming less affordable, and this is expected to get much worse.
In response to price increases, such as the market price of beef going up 10 percent in two years in the U.S., consumers have already diverted their budgets from nutrient-dense natural foods to prepackaged, high-calorie foods, which tend to be less nutritious.
Just as it makes intuitive sense that peak food would follow quickly on the heels of peak land, we can also assume that trading fresh, healthy foods for processed foods to make ends meet will lead to peak nutrition—after which our collective public health will begin to accelerate in its decline.
So, is there anything we can do to change our food future?
In light of their disturbing findings regarding synchronous peak production, the authors of the Ecology and Society study suggest that we need a “paradigm shift” in our use of resources if we are going to be able to adapt to our post-peak realities.
That seems like a polite way of saying, “we need to radically alter our methods for growing and distributing food, or we’re in big trouble.”
The good news is that you, I, and other members of The Grow Network community are already starting to work on this. The peak calculations were based on data from the 2013 FAO Statistical Yearbook5http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm. That report includes figures reported by international governments like Gross Domestic Product, and is dependent on financial information provided in tax returns and financial statements.
All the home-scale food growing taking place around the world is not included in determining these peak food calculations.
The study also does not take into consideration the black markets and barter markets that are already prevalent throughout much of the world, and may be used by two-thirds of the world’s population by 2020.
Unfortunately, for the same reasons that these data are not included in peak calculations, it is impossible to determine how much of an impact home food growers, barter economies, and black markets are making in relation to peak food.
Anecdotally, though, we know that there has been increased interest in home-based food production:
- Just look at the number of self-sufficiency publications showing up on supermarket and bookstore shelves over the last ten years.
- The number of farmers’ markets have increased by nearly 500% over the last 23 years, according to the USDA.6https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
- There’s been an explosion in intensive growing practices—raised beds, vertical gardening, companion planting, permaculture, aquaponics—methods that use significantly less inputs than industrial agriculture while producing a superior product with excellent yields.
- The Obamas put a garden on the White House lawn, and Oprah started a farm in Maui.
These are all positive signs that a transition to more sustainable food-growing processes is already under way.
A 3-Step Solution
Taking a closer look at the details reveals that our current “peak food” problem is really more of a “peak industrial farming” problem.
What the Ecology and Society study makes absolutely clear is that we cannot feed the world using only industrial farming methods because they depend on resources that have peaked, or will peak, in the near future—such as constant nitrogen inputs, spray irrigation, and mono-cropping on cleared land.
However, we can continue to improve our outlook with regard to peak food by choosing to support a few clear, actionable solutions:
1) Diversifying What We Grow
2) Reintegrating Local Farming Into Our Communities
3) Supporting Community Food Security
Let’s take a closer look at these solutions…
#1. Diversifying What We Grow
The fact that our key resources list can be narrowed down to just 27 items that include corn and sugarcane is both an indictment of our modern diet, and a mandate for change.
The Case for Corn
Corn, for example, could be an excellent “calorie crop,” meaning that it has the potential to provide a high calorie-per-acre yield. It has culinary versatility: corn bread, polenta, grits, tortillas, eaten on the cob and off the cob, popcorn, and as a supplemental feed for poultry and pigs.
But less than 1 percent of peak corn grown today actually makes it to your table directly. The rest is inedible for humans as it is grown specifically to go into our cars as ethanol or to be used as feed for livestock like cows, which would never touch it if they tripped over it in the pasture. A good portion of the corn used in our human food supply is corn syrup that is arguably a leading contributor to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Fields of monoculture corn swaying in the wind might even seem pretty—but don’t walk barefoot in those fields because they are loaded with toxic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that require protective gear to apply.
For the home grower, corn can be a fun food to grow as part of a balanced diet, if you have the space. You need to grow enough corn stalks for good cross-pollination or you need to hand-pollinate, and you have to take some extra precautions to prevent contamination from cross-pollination if you want to save your seeds.
But an even better option is to focus on more nutritious foods that don’t make the peak list.
Think about cabbage, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash. These are also versatile in soups, sauces, and pies, and they can be mashed, added to breads and pasta, roasted, and fried. Pumpkin and squash take space to grow, but there is no reason that they can’t be grown in vertical space. There are compact varieties of sweet potatoes like Bunch Porto Rico that can be grown in containers. These alternative calorie crops also store well without additional processing and they are relatively high in nutritional density, according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.7https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods
Mix these alternative calorie crops up with a long list of other highly nutritious foods that you can easily grow at home or pick up at your local farmers market, such as tomatoes, chard, beets, turnips, arugula, watercress, lettuce, and you will be on your way to post-peak food health and happiness.
A Not-So-Sweet Staple
Now for a not-so-sweet subject: sugar. Sugar is a staple of our diets … really?!
Why is something that significantly increases our chances of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease (according to the American Heart Association) a resource considered necessary to our survival? Sure, it’s got calories, but they are non-nutritive.
If you consume your calories as sugar, you must either overconsume other foods to make up the nutritive difference, or run a nutritive deficit. Both roads lead to poor health.
Currently, roughly 898,000 acres of sugarcane and sugar beets are grown commercially in the U.S. alone. That amount of land, replanted using intensive farming methods, could grow enough healthy vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products to feed 400,000 people a healthy, balanced diet.
If you’ve got an incurable sweet tooth, how about satisfying it with a source that takes almost no land to produce, is good for you, and the production of which actually increases crop productivity in the immediate area? This is not some manufactured miracle sweetener that we will later discover causes cancer. It’s the oldest known sweetener on the planet, so revered at one time that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with it in their tombs, while indigenous communities risked life and limb to extract it.
Of course, you guessed it: The miracle sugar alternative is raw honey.
Raw honey is loaded with good nutrition. It may also help reduce the intensity of seasonal allergies, which are expected to increase in length and severity as a result of climate change, resulting in greater losses in productivity. Keeping bees near your garden increases pollination rates and raises yields. Since every third bite of food we eat requires insect pollination, and most of this is done by honey bees, adding honey to our key resource list makes much more sense than sugar.
If you want to keep your own bees, try a top-bar hive. You can make it out of scrap materials and it does not require expensive extraction equipment. If you can’t keep bees, buy raw honey from your local beekeepers to encourage more beekeeping activity that benefits our entire food supply.
Or how about growing stevia? Stevia is an acquired taste, but once you adjust your palate, it becomes a viable alternative to sugar in beverages.
The leaves have negligible calories and can be boiled with teas and iced to make a sweet-tasting soda alternative. You can grow stevia from seeds obtained from a reputable supplier or you can grow it from cuttings. The plants do well in containers and can overwinter indoors in zones 7 and below with adequate light. When you harvest leaves by trimming the plants between leaf segments, similarly to how you harvest basil, the plants will become bushier and even more productive.
Corn and sugar are easy targets because there are delicious, available alternatives. But there are endless ways to diversify your diet:
- Swap rice for bulgur, quinoa, lentils, or split peas.
- Try goat or duck as a beef substitute.
- Use buckwheat and amaranth flour instead of wheat.
- Substitute sunflower seed meat for almonds.
Study your shopping list, identify the things you buy regularly, and then seek substitutes that can be grown in your community. You may be surprised at how much variety is available when you make the effort to look for it.
#2. Reintegrating Local Farming into our Communities
The expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has never had more relevance than it does right now.
Checking Into Chicken
Chickens are fairly easy to raise at the home scale and they add fun and beauty to a landscape, so if you are seriously thinking about raising a backyard flock, now might be a good time to start. Make sure you know your LORE (laws, ordinances, rights, and entitlements) before taking the plunge. Also, talk to chicken owners you trust or do research to determine best practices in buying and keeping chickens in your area.
If it’s against the “LORE” for you to keep backyard chickens or you don’t have the space, how about rallying your community to turn underutilized common areas onto vegetable gardens and raise egg chickens or egg ducks there? Not only does this concept make common space meaningful again by doing something productive with it, but it can create opportunities for new farmers to enter the profession, and opportunities for residential “lawnscapers” to become organic “foodscapers.”
Laying Off Lawns
And this leads us to another method for countering peak food—let’s overcome our lawn addiction. North Americans devote 40,000 square miles of prime growing land to lawns.8https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers That is more land than we use to grow wheat or corn, it requires half the American residential water supply to grow, and it uses heavy doses of post-peak nitrogen and chemical products that end up soiling our waterways.
In the era of peak food, we really need to kick our lawn habit to the curb.
If you are a DIY type and you already take care of your lawn and landscaping, swap your holly hedge for blueberry bushes, replace flowers with flowering herbs, grow veggies anywhere you currently grow annuals, or build raised beds right over your lawn. Fruit trees like paw paw, jujube, Asian pear, mulberry, and elderberry are less needy than many ornamental trees like dogwood or flowering cherry, so use those as your starting points for planting a “foodscape.”
Surround the trees with a living mulch of Russian comfrey and borage. As the trees grow, prune them for good airflow and a less dense shade profile so you can grow shade-tolerant spinach, lettuce, and peas under the trees. If you have good southern exposure in front of your trees, plant fruit bushes there, plus herbs like chives, lemon balm, and mint to attract beneficial insects. You can also vine grapes up the trunks, making use of that vertical space.
If you are not the DIY type and you spend on lawnscaping, reallocate your budget toward foodscaping to support a new generation of growers.
Many professional farmers and landscapers are excellent machine operators, soil scientists, irrigation experts, and pesticide applicators. But they may not have the expertise to grow a variety of foods without the aid of heavy equipment or purchased fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
To beat peak food and take advantage of prime growing land located within our populated communities, we need more small-scale farmers and growers skilled in controlling pests without chemicals, adding fertility with organic inputs produced onsite, minimizing water usage through smart planting, and applying intensive planting methods to increase food production.
There are plenty of people who want to do this, but we need to create the economic opportunities for them to be able to make a living at it.
To get started, talk to your current landscaper about having them do the work for you. If they don’t have the skills and they aren’t willing to gain them, talk to your local agricultural or gardening extension office, farming schools, vendors at farmers markets, or nearby permaculture schools to find people who are able to help you.
To keep costs low, you can make agreements to let student farmers sell surplus crops and keep the profit in exchange for doing the work. There are also a lot of budding permaculturists who offer their consulting services at discounted rates to develop their resumes and client bases.
Finding ways to grow food in our homes and neighborhoods should be a priority for anyone concerned about peak food.
#3. Supporting Community Food Security
Planting food instead of lawns not only increases food production, but also raises awareness of the importance of doing so. A surprising number of people are not even aware of the issues surrounding peak food. An even more surprising number of people are aware of some of these issues but feel powerless to do anything about them.
By bringing food growing to the forefront of our daily lives, we create opportunities to share our knowledge and help others collaborate with us. Our window of opportunity to beat peak food gets smaller the longer we wait and as weather becomes more erratic and resources less available, so the sooner we spread the news and help others get involved, the more impact we can have.
If you have any doubts about the urgency of building food communities, look to China for guidance. The Chinese government has encouraged its food corporations, through loans and preferential economic policy, to purchase and accumulate companies from around the world that grow and process food products (e.g., Smithfield Foods). This is part of a concerted effort to ensure food security for China’s growing population. And, it might be a wise policy given the reality of peak industrial food.
Yet not all governments are this proactive, and even when food is stockpiled or production is secured, distribution systems may not be fully developed. Also, goods may be distributed with preference for specific populations, like wealthy cities and wealthy citizens.
Realistically, unlike the Chinese government, most of us here don’t have $5 billion to buy up 25% of the pork production in the U.S. “just in case.” But most of us do have some kind of grocery budget and/or a food-growing system in place. Instead of spending our money and resources to support a post-peak industrial food system, we need to redirect our efforts toward local and sustainable food-growing activities.
Home growers can set up food-swapping networks with other growers to exchange products and increase diversity. Non-growers can take their food budgets to the farmers’ market and buy direct from local producers, or pick up weekly baskets from a local CSA. Greater demand for local food means more local growers. More local growers means more food security when declining industrial farms can no longer meet the food needs of a growing population.
We can adapt our eating and growing habits, and make the paradigm shift required to overcome peak food, if we acknowledge the problem and meet the challenges individually, and in our home communities, through thoughtful effort.
We can reach critical mass and cause real change in our society.
But the clock is ticking….
(This is an updated version of a post originally published August 14, 2015.)
References [ + ]
10 Ways to Catch Fish in an Emergency Unwanted times can hit you at any time in the world. There are many cases where outdoorsmen faced the survival issues and they were unable to find the aid and their supplies also finished like water and food. We always pray that these incidents should not happen … Continue reading 10 Ways to Catch Fish in an Emergency
Check your local regulations for fishing methods, times and limits. Please make sure also to have your fishing license, too!
Where to find: On hot days, you can see them gliding across the rocky bottoms of creeks, lakes and ponds. They like to hide under logs and roots that grow along the banks, as well.
How to catch: Crayfish can be caught in a variety of methods: by trap, hook, net or by hand. Put them in a bucket without water or they will drown. I am a fan of looking under rocks. I can get 50 in less than two hours on a good day. Traps seem to work OK if you have a bunch out, but depending where you are, it may not be that successful. With a hook and bait, you can just drop the bait in front of them, and then lift your bait and shake off the “mud bug.” Nets may work if you put the net behind the crayfish and use a stick to tease it into your net.
How to clean: After catching your crayfish, sort through them. You don’t want to eat a dead crayfish — it could make you sick. Then just rinse them 3-4 times with a garden hose. Try to get off as much dirt as possible.
How to cook: Cooking crayfish can be as simple as sautéing in butter, shell and all. Some people like to make a “mud bug boil.” This means boiling your crayfish with Cajun seasonings. You also can peel the tail and use the meat as you would shrimp. After cooking, try tearing the heads off and sucking all the stuff inside. That is known as the crayfish butter. Yum!
Where to find: Frogs can be found in the day, hiding in tall grasses and under banks. It’s much easier to find them at night. Best time is usually in the warmer months because the frogs are a little larger than in spring. Using a spotting light (red lenses can be used so frogs won’t see it), just shine along the water banks. They will signal you with shining eyes or by guiding you to them with their croaking call.
How to catch: Catching frogs is usually done with a gig. A gig is a spear with points to impale the frogs, then dump them into a covered bucket or net. As kids, we would just take hot-dog pokers and tape them to a long branch. You can buy commercially made frog gigs now. A few more ways to get them are with nets (nice because you can keep them alive to butcher in the morning), slingshot, 22 rifles with shot shell, bow and arrow, teasing with a spinner on fishing line or by hand.
How to clean: Frogs do not need to be cleaned, just skinned. Up north, we only eat the rear legs.
- Make a shallow slit around the waste.
- Use pliers to grab the skin.
- Peel down like you’re taking off his pants.
- Cut through the spine where you made the initial cut.
- Cut off the feet.
- Dump the legs into a pail of ice water.
How to cook: Most people like to bread and fry like you would chicken or fish. It’s also good in just about any soup or stew. Treat them like chicken wings.
Where to find: Many people find turtles, specifically snapper turtles, to be a delicacy. You can find these guys in just about any body of water. Ponds are a favorite, so ask some pond owners, who will probably be glad to be rid of them. Rivers and creeks also hold snappers, so give them a try, too.
How to catch: The main way to catch snappers is with 3-inch turtle hooks and line, but you can also build a turtle trap. Turtle traps are just cages with a spring door. They check in but don’t check out. Hook and line is the preferable method. All you need is the 3-inch turtle hooks on the cord (I also use the cheap nylon) and some bait. Bait can be pieces of fish, liver or rotting meat. I know a few people who use road-killed groundhog chunks. I like to take some stocking material, put some liver in it, and then run my hook through the stocking material. This helps keep the bait on the line so fish won’t pick it off.
Basic turtle line uses about 10 feet of cord hook on one end and a stake or piece of rebar to anchor to the ground. In my state, I must tag each line with all my personal information, so check for your local regulations.
How to clean: I always leave turtles to sit in a tub of clean water for a week. I change it daily; you will get rid of that swampy muddy flavor turtle can have. Every time you butcher a turtle, you will get a little better.
Get the turtle out of the tank and on its back. Have someone pull the cord so that its head is pulled out. Separate the head from the body using a hatchet. Then, separate the bottom shell from the top with a hacksaw. Using a knife, separate the meat and skin.
You can find many other ways (air pressure or a water hose) to help skin your turtle. Just check online and you will see many other ways to get that precious meat out of that shell.
How to cook: Turtle can be used just like chicken. Soup is a good way to eat it, but breaded and fried will trick most into believing you are serving them chicken.
Where to find: You can find eels in rivers and creeks. As a child in Pennsylvania, I found them easily, but it’s been harder as time has passed. The Delaware river water gap still has a healthy stock of eel.
How to catch: Eels can be trapped in eel traps (commercially made) with a gig, such as the one for frogs and hook and line. I prefer hook and line with at least 20-pound fishing line. Not many freshwater fish can fight like eels. Once you have one on the line, get it in as quick as possible or it will tangle into rocks or sunken trees. They will eat just about anything from worms to cut-up fish.
How to clean:
- Get a 55-gallon drum and let them soak for a few days.
- Make sure they can’t get out of the tank.
- Take an eel out with the help of a towel for traction.
- Hammer a nail through its head into a post or tree.
- Put a small slit all around its neck.
- Use pliers to just pull down to strip it.
- Now you can gut it and use pruners to decapitate it.
How to cook: Eels are fantastic smoked; cut into chunks and breaded and fried is good enough for most people. Just don’t overcook or it will be tough as leather.
5. Water snails
Where to find: Freshwater snails can be found in most lakes and clean bodies of water. Just look close and you will be able to pick until your heart’s content!
How to catch: Just a hand is needed for these little guys.
How to clean:
- Boil them in water for 15 minutes.
- Rinse them in cold water.
- Repeat two other times for a total of 45 minutes of boiling.
How to cook: Just toss the boiled snails into some butter and garlic till warm. Season to taste using any herbs you like. Enjoy!
What creatures would you add to our list? What advice would you add on catching or cooking? Share your tips in the section below:
Do you like fish? We do. We like fishing and eating what we catch. Most times we are just fishing for lake or river trout, which we don’t filet, but sometimes we get fish that are bigger or hard scaled, and those are perfect for fileting! This filet method works great on a variety of […]
If you love to fish, you might have wondered how the indigenous people of the Americas managed to fish without all that expensive equipment so many people seem to use today.
When you think about it, many native tribes relied on fish as one of their main food sources, but without metal hooks, reels, rods or sonar devices, how did they manage to catch enough fish to not only survive, but to thrive?
My father was an avid fisherman, and although he liked his expensive reels, when he took my brothers and me camping, we rarely used any type of equipment other than the occasional net, which we actually brought for frogs. (I will tell you about my father’s favorite fishing method, the one he learned from his grandfather, later on.)
Let’s take a look at some of the forgotten or little-known ways that native people caught fish and other aquatic foods.
Spears and Other Obvious Methods
Most people think of spears as a means of catching fish — like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. While native people certainly did use this method, it isn’t always as easy as old Tom Hanks made it look like in the middle of the movie. If one was lucky, rocks provided a good platform from which to stand and wait for a fish, or a school of fish to pass. Canoes also were used, with one person navigating the canoe and holding it steady when they needed to, while two or more other persons would spear fish.
In a pinch, even the old bow and arrow could be used in shallow water. If the water was too deep, you could easily lose the fish, and your arrow, in the depths. A few tribes, such as the Powhatan, did make a type of line, called a “pemmenaw,” which was attached to arrows so they could be retrieved, along with the fish.
During the winter, a common method to catch fish was the lure and spear method. A hole was cut in the ice, and then a white piece of bone was lowered into the hole on a piece of sinew. Fish would follow this “shiny” bone to the surface, then speared.
Nets or Obstruction Techniques
These methods remind me of my father’s favorite fishing method. He often referred to it as “the lazy way to eat.” Native people were known for making obstructions that worked like a net that they placed across the opening of streams or channels. These were made from woven reeds or other types of tough grasses, tied to stakes. These stakes were then placed on either side of a channel or part of a fast running stream, very much like a fence. Fish were held fast to this “fence” by the swift moving current.
Native people used similar types of traps as well. One method involved putting reeds or small twigs in the water, making a giant V. Rather than trying to swim back the way they came, the fish would congregate at the small part of the V, trying to find an exit. Fish could simply be pulled out by hand.
Another common trap, called a weir, was made from reeds. It formed a type of funnel that fish would swim in to, but found they could not escape due to either a fast current or multitude of fish behind them. These weirs were quite large, sometimes being three feet wide at the opening and about 10 feet in length!
Still other tribes used nets made from plant fibers. These large nets were then suspended between people standing in two canoes stationed on either side of a river. Once a few fish were caught, they were placed in the boat, then the net replaced in the water. Since the nets were not strong like nylon nets, they could only hold a few pounds of fish before they needed to be pulled in. Over the course of a day, however, this resulted in a bounty of fish. This also ensured that plenty of fish were left to replenish the waters.
Another type of net involved using a tree branch that made a large Y. Reeds or plant fibers were then tied and woven between the Y, making something like a very loosely woven basket. A person could stand in the river or ocean, or on a rock or in a canoe and scoop up fish, or wait patiently until the fish swam over the net, and then quickly pull up the net.
My father would employ us kids to get sticks for firewood. He would then select a few dozen sticks about 2 inches in diameter. He used these sticks to make a large U in the water, usually in front of a swift moving part of the stream. The fish we caught, usually rainbow trout, would become trapped in the U, unable to swim out due to the strong current. This worked remarkably well and we often had fish for dinner each night, as well as fish to take home to our mother.
Seasons and Tides
Native people understood the cycles of nature. Pacific Northwest tribes knew when the salmon were returning to spawn, and would wait for them to finish spawning, before taking their dead or dying bodies as meat. In the fall, tribes could collect, literally, thousands of salmon. Drying the meat would ensure that they would always have something to eat, no matter what happened that winter.
Atlantic salmon will return again and again to spawn, so native people would make traps or use nets to catch them on their return route, after they had spawned and lay eggs. Indigenous tribes knew that if they took salmon before they spawned, there would soon be no more salmon to catch.
Those who lived near the seas quickly learned to catch fish, crabs and other sea life in tide pools. Tide pools make natural traps for fish, leaving them in very shallow pools after the tide goes out. Some tribes would take nothing more than baskets to the tide pools and pull out fish and crabs by hand.
Native people learned to find other food sources by watching nature at work. They knew when they could collect turtle eggs, birds’ eggs, clams, frogs, crayfish, sea otters, seals and basketfuls of migrating anchovies.
What alternative fish-catching methods have you used? Share your tips in the section below:
A fish pond can be an attractive and rewarding addition to your land that helps to attract wildlife, stores water in times of drought, and provides a swimming hole for your kids — all while producing fish for your table.
Raising your own fish give you the peace and serenity of private access to your own fishing hole, and it also can provide a unique opportunity to encourage a fishing hobby in your children, since they’re much more likely to make a catch in a stocked private pond.
Whether you have a pond on your land already, or are considering constructing one, it’s important to consider that a pond will require maintenance to stay attractive, healthy and productive. To take proper care of a fish pond, you’ll need to maintain a depth, prevent chemical contamination, and minimize algae growth.
Pond Size and Depth
While it may be tempting to hand dig and stock a miniature pond in your backyard, ponds under half an acre of surface area have trouble supporting stocked fish in the long term. Below half an acre, the pond just doesn’t have enough space to keep a thriving population alive, and it is likely to dry out in the summer or freeze solid to the bottom in the winter.
Deep water ponds are the only type capable of reliably maintaining a stable ecosystem for your fish year-round. Ponds with 25 to 50 percent of their area at least 10 feet deep are considered “deep-water ponds.” Depending on your climate, your pond may need to be significantly deeper than 10 feet to prevent winter kill of fish, or to prevent summer overheating for cold water species such as trout. Different fish species have different temperature requirements.
Minimizing Sediment & Evaporation
To maintain depth in a stream-fed pond, include a small sediment settling pond to slow the water and allow fine sediment to drop out before the water enters the main pond. Water should flow slowly out of the sediment pond into the main pond, and if designed correctly, should enter the main pond clear.
Ponds not fed by a stream have less concerns about sediment, but are more likely to lose depth in times of drought. Minimize surface area where evaporation occurs by having a round or oval pond shape with relatively steeply sloping sides. An irregular pond edge means more surface area, but also more shallow edge space that encourages evaporation without providing deep habitat for fish.
Preventing Chemical Contamination
It’s important to prevent chemical contamination of your pond, because what goes into your fish pond will eventually land on your family’s table. Ideally, avoid synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on your land, but if that’s not an option, do not use them within 100 feet of the pond or the stream that feeds the pond. Avoid mowing or excessively trimming vegetation within 100 feet of the pond, as well. This vegetation buffer zone helps to filter out contaminants and keeps your pond cleaner in the long run.
Preventing Algae Overgrowth
Excess algae growth in a pond can lower oxygen levels and suffocate fish, and certain types of algae can be toxic to both humans and fish. Algae blooms are caused by a number of complicated ecological factors, but the best way to prevent them is to limit or eliminate excess nutrients entering the pond. Abundant vegetation near the pond edge helps to absorb nutrients that would enter in run-off. Preventing runoff from agricultural areas, and keeping pets and livestock as far from the pond as possible, prevents their wastes from entering the pond to feed the algae.
Another way to prevent algae in a home pond is to add a small amount of hardwood ash to the pond. Hardwood ash promotes native vegetation by adding soluble minerals to the pond. When these minerals are lacking, algae can out-compete vegetation for the nutrients in fertilizer runoff. The minerals in hardwood ash help give vegetation a leg up over the algae and can prevent harmful algae blooms. It doesn’t take a lot to have a big impact, and it’s suggested that ash be added slowly, as too much can do more harm than good. The suggested rate of application is only 1 tablespoon per 1,000 gallons of water.
Choosing Fish Species
The type of fish will depend on your family’s tastes, your location and your pond’s specific ecosystem. Trout are a cold-water fish, and require deeper water (12 feet minimum) to stay cool in the summer months.
Other fish species, such as bass, thrive in warmer water, but require the addition of a prey species for food. With a predator and prey species in a pond, it’s important to maintain the right ratio of predator to prey to ensure the survival of the larger predator fish you intend to harvest.
To choose your fish species and stocking density, it’s important to talk to your local extension or to consult a fishery biologist, as pond ecology varies by region.
What advice would you add on maintaining a pond long-term? Share your tips in the section below:
Just the mention of “fat” turns off people, but some fats are good for your health and are part of an essential diet.
Better yet, they can lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, improve immune function, aid in liver and kidney functions, and keep our bodies fit and trim.
The key to using these fats is to learn how to cook with them while using the most desirable options.
Ready to learn what fattening foods you should add to your diet?
Avocados are crammed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as well as antioxidants. A potent amount of monounsaturated fat aids in the reduction of low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol. Hence, eating avocados increases high-density lipoproteins or “good” cholesterol levels. Additionally, this incredible green fruit is full of vitamins, plant nutrients, and minerals which support the liver’s overall health. It also contributes to breaking down other kinds of fats.
It gets even better!
Avocados have a smooth, silky, texture that can be used as butter or an oil substitute. In fact, if you mash avocados good enough, you can use the paste as a substitute in recipes that call for mayo. Avocado paste can make any recipe calling for mayo, butter or oil that much healthier without the worry of unhealthy fats clogging your arteries.
The key to using avocados as a delicious mayo, butter or oil substitute is in knowing how to pick out the best avocados! While shopping, you will want to look for avocados without blemishes. Plus, make sure they don’t have dents in them, either. They should be all the same color — a greenish-black — if you are going to use them right away. This color indicates ripeness, which makes them easier to mash. Using ripe avocados will add the most enriched flavor to your dishes. However, if you are not going to be using the avocados right away, pick out the more greenish ones. This will give you a couple of days before you need to use them. If they do not ripen quickly enough, you can put them in a brown paper bag for about 12 hours.
All nuts contain fat and oils that fringe with elegant, but robust, toasty flavors. Plus, nuts are perfect for adding texture and taste to any recipe.
Nuts contain “good” cholesterol and contribute to lowering “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Further, nuts contain protein and carbohydrates. Some variety of nuts are high in calories, but if you think you need to avoid them to maintain your weight, think again. Nuts actually make you feel full quicker than eating other foods with the same amount of calories because they contain dense calories. This means you eat less and feel fuller. This is perfect for those on a diet!
Walnuts contain a high level of amino acid l-arginine, which aids the liver in detoxifying ammonia and the kidneys in removing waste. Walnuts also include omega-3 fatty acids and glutathione, which contribute to natural liver-cleansing methods.
There are several ways to extract oil from nuts to use for cooking. The easiest for home use might be by using an oil press. Oil from nuts can go bad quickly, so keep it in a tightly sealed jar, and in a cool, dry place.
You also can mash up nuts to use as a flour or filler substitute. Additionally, nuts are great roasted, on salads, and mixed with veggies, as well
3. Fish and shellfish
The fats in fish are extremely healthy for your heart. Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are all excellent sources of omega-3s. Further, fish and shellfish are high in protein and low in bad fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to keeping your arteries clean and free-flowing. Otherwise known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in brain function. Omega-3s may reduce the risk of heart disease, as well.
The key is to buy high-quality fish and shellfish. First, find a trustworthy seafood merchant. Then, when choosing fish fillets, make sure that they are clear and have no slits in the flesh. If you can, buy the fish whole as opposed to cuts, as a whole fish is usually of a better quality. When buying a whole fish, check the gills to make sure they are red and the scales to make sure they are shiny. The eyes should be clear and bulging.
4. Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil adds refined flavoring, texture and aroma to almost anything. It’s the perfect medium for sautéing and isn’t overpowering.
Olive oil that is truly extra virgin has a distinguishing taste and is potent in phenolic antioxidants, the primary reason why (real) olive oil is extremely valuable to your health.
Extra-virgin olive oil can be your go-to for finishing and as a salad oil. Pure olive oil should have excellent clarity, and it should also contain a tinge of green to show that it was prepped when the olives were fresh and ripe. Light can damage olive oil, so store it in a dark bottle.
What foods would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
This incident reportedly happened six months ago, and unfortunately there was no available sample to test.
In late March I received this email from a contact who has a Geiger counter.
I have removed some information from the correspondence to protect the contacts anonymity.
“You have to watch your food like a hawk. My daughter had some tuna in oil….very small tin. I had been warning her. But dad is crazy. I found the tin going into the recycle, it still had a bit of oil in it. So, me being me, I got out my geiger counter and took a reading………it went ballistic.
It just keep climbing and climbing. I didn’t think it was going to stop……It stopped climbing when it hit 38K counts per minute….I didn’t know my bGeigie Nano meter went that high. The oil seemed OK, the tin seemed OK, but a tiny flake of leftover tuna the size of a match head was on the lip of the tin, that is what set it off. Don’t eat ANYTHING from the sea….anymore. That tuna was toxic radioactive nuclear waste, and not food.”
38K counts per minute would be around 1000 times background, using this model Geiger counter!
I sent this email to get more information on this very high detection.
Do you still have the sample?
If you are located in Australia, and still have the sample, I could test it, if you posted to me.
If you don’t have it, if you provide the information below, I may be able to source some here, and test it.
In what country was the tuna tinned?
In what country was it purchased?
Here is the reply to my email query.
This happened over 6 months ago.
I can only assume it was canned in the USA. tuna in oil. At that time I thought the reading was coming from the oil in the tin….I didn’t notice the flake that was on the outside top edge of the can. I got it stuck on my finger and washed it off. After this, is when I couldn’t get a reading from the tin or the oil again. I realized that the flake which was gone down the drain by then was the cause.
I thought my Geiger counter was malfunctioning at the time, which it never has before or since. The count was going up and it freaked out my son as we watched it climb. The highest reading I have ever gotten until then was 164 CPM off of a milled piece of pine, but at that time I was (and still am) learning how to use the geiger counter.
A small number of tests on different brands of tinned tuna have been conducted here recently, and over the last couple years. There was nothing to report from these tests. This is only one community testing lab, and each test takes 24 hours, or more. A large variety of mainly Australian food products have been tested, so statistically the number of tinned tuna tests conducted here at this stage is very small.
It obvious more widespread community and government food testing needs to be conducted.
08.03.2014 – Proven: Pilliga groundwater contaminated by Santos CSG
Documents obtained by The Wilderness Society show that groundwater in the Pilliga has been contaminated by Santos CSG operations.
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
The NSW EPA have confirmed the contamination event, but failed to act with any proper legal force, choosing to fine Santos only $1,500 dollars.
On Friday, EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford confirmed the contamination was caused by water leaking from the pond and that lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron, nickel and uranium had been detected in an aquifer at levels ”elevated when compared to livestock, irrigation and health guidelines’
Comment By Lock the Gate:
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It is the nightmare that the communities of the north west dreaded, and we hope that the contamination is contained and does no harm. Groundwater is the lifeblood of towns and rural businesses and the worst fears of local farmers are being realised.
26.09.2013 – Detection of Radon-220 in the rain
20.09.2013 – “Contaminated seawater reaches the east coast of Australia and Indonesia,” Japan Meteorological Research Institute.
It is important to read the PDF presentation to fully understand the dynamics of this. (Link provided below)
09.09.2013 – Detection of radioactive Iodine I-129 in roof gutter moss Australia.
October 2012, Impact on Australia from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident
1. Food imported from Japan, page 22.
2. Family living in Fukushima for 150 days, page 32.
3. Vehicles and Military aircraft, including American helicopters, page 28. (They appear to be using measurements of square centimeters cm2 instead of per square meter m2, so multiply by 10,000 to get the Bequerel per square meter amount.)
4. Mutton Birds Tasmania, page 36.
11.09.2011 – Silent Storm atomic testing in Australia
Australia’s milk supply? From 1957 to 1978, scientists secretly removed bone samples from over 21,000 dead Australians as they searched for evidence of the deadly poison, Strontium 90 – a by-product of nuclear testing.
Official claims that British atomic tests posed no threat to the Australian people.
Fish are a nutritional powerhouse; with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a potent cocktail of nutrients that influence human brain function, optimize hormonal production, and even prevent aging! They’re also a camper or survivalist’s dream come true. Why, you may ask? Fish go fin-in-stream with the most important resource – water! Whether you love the outdoors, want to be a little greener, or need to eat to survive, learning to cook fish using traditional “off-the-grid” methods is a useful addition to any culinary arsenal. There are a many techniques available to catch wild fish, ranging from building your own rod to catching with your bare hands, but this article is going to discuss how to best cook up your catch.
By John S., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache
First, let us discuss the different types of fish meat. “Oily” or “fatty” fish are fish that are over five percent fat by weight, while lean fish are under five percent. Oily fish include anchovies, carp, herring, salmon and sardines. They are generally known for their moist texture and richer flavors. Lean fish include bass, cod, catfish, and perch. They’re known for being a little tougher and a little less flavorful. Your location will be a big factor in determining what types of fish are available to you. Study up on your local species to be best prepared to feed yourself, for fun or survival.
Baking on Smoldering Coals
One of the best, and most basic, off the grid cooking techniques is baking on smoldering coals. While this method is useful for any kind of meat, it adds a certain smoky edge to fish that’s extremely delicious. Oilier fish are especially good when cooked with this method, since the hearty fats seal in a moist texture. Salt is a staple in every kitchen, and you may often hear people talking about bringing salt on outdoor excursions. This isn’t only for the taste, but it’s also especially useful in preserving food, so you should take care to keep some with you on all outdoor cooking excursions and during your survival practice.
Read Also: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit
As for leaner fish, they’ll bake best wrapped in foil or, in an emergency situation, large leaves will do the trick. The wrapping helps trap moisture in and steams the fish. Feel free to dress a coal-baked fish up with some lemon juice and butter if you’re cooking for leisure! It’s probably safe to say you won’t have these items handy during a survival situation, but in that situation, anything edible, and especially nutritious, will be delicious.
Pan Frying (if possible)
Frying the fresh catch in a large cast iron pan is also an option, if you came prepared with the pan and a little oil. If you’re frying for fun, a simple mix of flour, breadcrumbs and your favorite seasonings will keep well in a zip lock bag, is easy to transport, and makes for yummy treat. Even without the mix, the fish will be a great meal on it’s own; especially if you’re eating for survival. The biggest key is to make sure the oil is hot enough, a spit test should do the trick. Simply wet your fingers with some water and flick the moisture into the pan, if the oil “spits”, or jumps and bubbles, on contact, then you’re ready to cook.
You will need long tongs or a durable cooking spoon to flip and “fish” out the filets once they’ve fried to a light golden color. This method tastes great, even with only light salting, and works well for both types of fish. If no tongs or cooking spoons are in your repertoire, you can use a multi-tool or knife so long as you’re careful not to damage it, as you will need it for other important tasks as well. Worst case, there should be twigs and sticks around for you to use as cooking tools.
Building Your Own Smoker
Last, but not least, fish meat is fabulous fresh out of a smoker. Not only is it fresh, but smoking fish, or any meat for that manner, is optimal for survival-based situations because prolonged smoking results in dehydrated, well-preserved food that can be saved and stored for several days. Building, or finding, a smoker can be tricky, you just need to create a small space where a rack can hang above a fire and a ventilation system to bring the smoke up through the fish meat.
Related: Teach Them to Fish
Stacking appropriately-sized rocks is a good and, usually, convenient method of construction. Covering the vents with foliage can help trap in smoke and improve the cooking process, and burning clean, dry logs will provide the best smoky flavor for the food. While this process does take longer than the other two, the preservation effects of smoking could mean the difference between life and death, so it’s definitely worth learning about and practicing. For example, if you are in a survival situation and are having luck catching some fish, you may want to use a lot of that meat in the smoker simply for preservation, and then consume the meat at a later time when you may be running low on food.
Luckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to preparing fish off the grid using very little materials. Salt is perhaps one of the most underrated items in a survival situation, as it offers a convenient method of preservation. Adding other herbs, spices and extras will provide a welcome kick to your next camping meal, but of course, this may be out of the question in a survival situation. Lastly, Always make sure any fish you consume is thoroughly cleaned and cooked before consuming. This, combined with thorough cooking, will ensure you have a nice edible fish packed with nutrients to keep you going. Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re out in the backcountry or doing some camping, try cooking some fish with as little materials as possible, ideally using natural objects around you. Good luck!
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Imagine this situation: You silently enter a nearby piece of woods and move stealthily along some edge cover. You take each step with care, hoping to avoid a hazardous one that would snap a twig beneath your feet and signal your presence to the entire surrounding woods. Fate has landed you in this situation, where your survival depends on your skill with a gun and your knowledge of the land.
Up ahead your prey is feeding, unaware of your presence. Ever so slowly you lift your rifle to your shoulder and take aim.
In a survival situation like this, what animal do you imagine yourself hunting? Is it a deer? Are you fortunate enough to live in an area of elk or other large animal? How about small game animals? Not only are small game animals the most abundant, but they also typically require the least amount of skill to harvest. There’s just one problem with this plan: You’ll starve to death.
The big risk people would face in this situation is a misunderstanding of how their body works and the calories their new life would require in a survival situation. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your life depends on harvesting the bounty of nature, here are three animals you shouldn’t count on:
The truth is that if you ate nothing but rabbits in a survival situation you would die from what is called rabbit starvation. This phenomenon occurs when the human body eats only lean meats for an extended period of time. To function properly, you constantly need a variety of food sources to keep you going. Native people knew all about this. Here is a diary entry from renowned explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson scribed more than 100 years ago after living with Native people:
The groups that depend on the blubber animals are the most fortunate in the hunting way of life, for they never suffer from fat-hunger. This trouble is worst, so far as North America is concerned, among those forest Indians who depend at times on rabbits, the leanest animal in the North, and who develop the extreme fat-hunger known as rabbit-starvation. Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source — beaver, moose, fish — will develop diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied. Some think a man will die sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered in the north. Deaths from rabbit-starvation, or from the eating of other skinny meat, are rare; for everyone understands the principle, and any possible preventive steps are naturally taken.
In city parks and towns around the country, you will find a population of squirrels that, at times, seems to outnumber the people. The real problem with squirrels is that their caloric return is far too low to depend on as a major food source. One squirrel is estimated to provide around 540 calories. In a world where we spend increasingly more time manipulating a screen and sitting on our keesters, we still demand around 2,000 calories a day. Even with our modern luxuries, you’d need to consume around four squirrels a day just to calorically break even. No problem, right? Well, there is one problem. In a survival situation, you could expect your caloric demands to skyrocket. Even if your daily caloric demand only doubled to 4,000 calories per day, that would put you at needing a hefty eight squirrels a day to break even. I’m sure this wouldn’t be a problem on day one in many areas, but how about with a family of four needing 32 squirrels a day? How about on day 100 when you’ve already shot 800 squirrels? As you can tell, the math doesn’t add up, and squirrel is not something you should be depending on as your staple food source.
Trout and certain panfish find their way on the bottom of this list for the same reasons as squirrels. For example, a wild trout only provides 143 calories per fillet. Double that and you are at 286 calories per fish. Again, the amount of panfish or trout you’d have to catch in a day would be substantial if you were to try and live solely on their sustenance. Based on a 4,000-calorie diet, that would equate to around 14 fish per day to break even for one person. However, there would be an advantage of panfish over squirrels and rabbit. That advantage is that fishing is passive. In other words, you could cast a few lines each day and come back later to check your catch, with very little effort involved. Fishing doesn’t require nearly as many calories as hunting does; therefore, the calories of your panfish would go further and you may not burn 4,000 calories per day. If you were in a situation where you didn’t have to expend much energy, panfish could possibly be a reasonable food source for an extended period of time. However, you would still have to catch an awful lot of fish.
In reality, these animals all can play a minor role in a long-term survival diet, but they should not be viewed as long-term staple food sources. Keep in mind this analysis has considered diets solely composed of these animals. If you could find supplementary food items — from plants to other animals — you would decrease the negative effects. People who lived off the land for generations didn’t depend solely on these animals, and neither should we.
Do you agree? Disagree? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
Several years ago, Ohio State University researchers reported that there are “more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the earth.” These microorganisms, of course, are essential to producing rich soil and strong, hardy plants.
And one big key to healthy soil is worms. Worms help compost your soil and add castings (“worm poop”) for proper soil nutrition. Liquid fertilizer then can be made from the worm castings (a fertilizer called worm “tea”). This worm tea boosts the activity of the microorganisms of the soil by adding things like bacteria and protozoa.
You can dramatically improve your soil’s quality with a worm farm, also known as vermiculture — a process in which worms are utilized to decompose the organic food waste into a material usable by the plants. This can be done at home in a cheap and easy setup, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. All you need is creativity and time!
There really is no end to the uses of your worms and their byproduct. Use them for:
- As a way to get rid of rabbit poop.
- As a way to get rid of vegetable scraps and coffee grounds.
- Chicken feed.
You can get creative with your vermiculture, but there is a general structure that must be followed for success. You’ll need the following components:
- Something to hold your worms.
- Some newspaper.
- Compost or soil.
- Green waste.
- Worms (of course!).
Think of a vermiculture setup like a compost bin with worms and a tap. The container can be anything from an old broken fridge to a wood bin. Whatever it is, you want to make sure it has a hole in the bottom for draining. If you use the fridge, lay it on its back, take all the stuff out, and drill a hole in the bottom.
Make sure your worms are kept cool and are not in the sun! Also, avoid areas with vibrations.
Now that you have your container, it’s time to work on the bedding. Start with the newspaper and rip it into little pieces. Don’t rip it all up, though. Keep some whole sheets for later. Soak it in water until mushy, and then mix well with soil. Take a few sheets of wet newspaper and place it at the bottom of the container as a base. Then, place the soil-compost mixture on top. Make sure there are a few inches of soil. (This depends on the bin and how many worms you have.)
Place the worms on top and they will burrow down into the soil. Place the green waste on one side of the worm bin. This is what the worms are going to eat. If you have some manure, great, put it on top. Use farm manure from pigs, rabbits or cattle, but not from house pets. I would not put more food than one-fourth of the soil you have. Believe it or not, they eat half their weight every day!
To finish assembling, put a lid on it and make sure to allow a small amount of light in to keep them in there. If you don’t have a top on your worms, you will have a breeding colony of flies and maggots.
Worms of choice are red wigglers or composting worms. Earthworms just don’t like to eat like the little red wigglers do. Worms are the most expensive part of the worm bin. You buy them by the pound. Start small if you have more time than money, or go big with a few pounds of worms to get castings quickly.
The nice part about worms is they multiply quickly. Adult red wiggler worms (three months old) can produce up to three cocoons per week. Each cocoon has about two to three worms. The cocoons take 11 weeks or so to hatch.
You even could make some income selling worms!
Tip: The main issue with vermiculture is that people often overwater their worm bins. You can drown your worms, so just keep the plant-based scraps and manures we described above as the main source of moisture. Worms love leaves, so put a layer of leaves on top to make them happy. Also, don’t use meat! This will turn your worm bin into a mess — and worms do not like it, either!
How do you use worms on the homestead? Do you have any vermiculture advice? Share your tips in the section below:
We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” but did you know you that what you eat can make you smarter?
In addition to helping your body stay healthy and strong, certain foods can help your brain work better and even protect against mental disorders.
“Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain,” said Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has researched the effects of food on the brain. “Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.”
The food we eat can affect everything from our mood to our memory. Nutrient-dense whole foods can do more than just fuel our bodies; they can help us think more clearly.
According to Cynthia Green, PhD, an expert on memory and brain health, key nutrients — along with exercise and daily brain stimulation – help keep brain cells healthy and prevent inflammation. Green writes that a person’s memory, attention span and ability to learn all benefit from the right food choices.
Here are 10 brain-boosting foods to make a part of your diet.
1. Fish — Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, trout and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which experts believe are essential for healthy brain function.
Nearly 40 percent of the fatty acids found in brain cell membranes are the DHA variety, which are found in fish oil. Scientists have discovered that DHA helps the brain transmit signals between its cells. The body cannot manufacture fatty acids, so they must be gained through diet.
Tufts University researchers found that people who ate oily fish three times a week and therefore had the highest levels of DHA in their blood reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost 40 percent.
2. Dark green leafy vegetables – Dark green vegetables, such as kale, collard greens and spinach, are excellent sources of vitamin E and folate. Folate may protect the brain by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. Nitrates in spinach help increase blood flow to the brain and thereby improve mental performance.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves memory. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids, which help protect the brain from damage from free radicals, the waste products the body makes when its cells create energy.
3. Nuts and seeds — As sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin B6 and vitamin E, nuts (especially walnuts) and seeds are good for the brain and the nervous system.
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain omega fatty acids, protein and B vitamins, which all can help provide you with an energy boost. These seeds also contain tryptophan, a substance the brain converts into serotonin to elevate your mood.
Eating a handful of seeds also can provide you with the daily recommended amount of zinc, which helps enhance thinking skills and memory.
4. Berries – Dark berries, such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries, are both good to eat and good for your brain. They contain anthocyanins and other flavonoids that improve memory function and cognitive function.
Research indicates that berries help protect the brain from oxidative damage and stress that can contribute to premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
5. Avocados — Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin E.
Consuming these nutritional powerhouses helps increase blood flow to the brain, lower “bad” cholesterol levels and absorb antioxidants. Avocados are delicious but high in calories, so consider adding just one quarter to one-half of an avocado to your daily diet.
6. Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate – the kind that contains at least 70 percent cocoa – can be a powerful brain booster. It contains important antioxidants as well as natural stimulants, such as caffeine, which help improve concentration.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help blood vessel function, which enhances cognitive function and memory skills.
7. Bone broth — When you sip a homemade stock made from animal bones, you can help nourish your brain.
Bone broth contains collagen, which helps keep cells, bones, ligaments and the brain healthy. Additionally, the glycine in bone broth helps improve sleep and memory.
8. Whole grains – The complex carbohydrates, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids found in whole grains help protect the heart and brain from cholesterol, blood clots and sugar spikes.
Whole grains – such as oatmeal, oat bran and brown rice — also contain B vitamins that enhance blood flow to the brain and improve mood and concentration.
9. Beets — Beets as brain food? You had better believe it. Beets are high in vitamin B9 and in nitrites, which help increase blood flow in the areas of the brain related to cognitive functioning.
They also are rich in carotenoids, which help boost brain functioning and improve mood.
10. Beans and legumes – An excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, beans and legumes also offer a steady supply of glucose for the brain without the risk of potentially harmful sugar spikes.
Beans and legumes also contain omega fatty acids and an abundance of folate, both of which boost brain function.
Finally, don’t underestimate the role hydration plays in good brain health. Be sure to drink plenty of water each day to keep your body and your brain working at optimal levels.
The brain is approximately 85 percent water, and brain function – including thought and memory processes — depends on you staying hydrated. So drink up this summer!
Each spring and summer, gardeners and homesteaders plan their gardens with the goal of growing the most vegetables possible.
But few of them consider aquaponics, a growing method that involves fish and allows gardeners to grow far more vegetables than they can grow in the ground – without dirt and mostly without weeds.
Aquaponics is the topic on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio as we talk to off-gridder and blogger Zachary Bauer, who has one of the largest solar-powered aquaponics systems in America.
Bauer says aquaponics doesn’t have to be complicated and that anyone can do it – no matter the size of the homestead or plot of land.
Bauer also tells us:
- What vegetables can (and cannot) be grown through aquaponics.
- Why vegetables grow faster in aquaponics.
- What types of fish work best in an aquaponics system.
- How often the fish from such a system can be harvested.
- What you need to get started.
Bauer gives us the pros and cons of aquaponics, and he tells us how he set his own system up – and how you can, too. Don’t miss this amazing show if you’re an homesteader or off-gridder looking to grow more food!
People have been canning at home for years … decades actually. With all of this experience, you would think we all would know what can be canned in pressure cookers. We don’t.
In fact, many people are under the very wrong assumption that fruits, vegetables and things like jam and soup are the only things they can home can.
The reality is that you can home can just about anything you serve your family today. You aren’t limited to eating mushy veggies and fruits if you are relying on your food storage.
You are in for a real treat when you see the following list of foods that can be canned and stored for years. Check out nine things you can preserve in your pressure canner so your family will be eating like kings for years down the road.
1. Hamburger patties. Imagine being able to have a juicy burger, perfectly seasoned, after a blackout. The next time ground beef goes on sale or you get a great deal on a side of beef, you don’t have to put it all in the freezer. It isn’t just patties you can preserve. Ground beef, in general, can be stored for years on your pantry shelf – as can meatballs.
2. Chicken legs and thighs. Eating your favorite cut of chicken cooked the way you like is a pretty common comfort food. You can bake it, fry it or put it on the barbecue with your favorite sauce. Your family will love the idea of their favorite meal, just like they used to eat, when things were normal. You can buy packs of chicken legs and thighs for just a few dollars. This is an excellent, inexpensive way to stock your food storage shelves. Chicken breasts are also an option.
3. Fish. Going fishing is a fun activity and instead of wrapping up your catch and popping it in the freezer, can it instead! Salmon, steelhead, halibut and trout are all excellent tasting after the canning process. You can fillet the fish or dice it up. You don’t need to add any salt or preservatives to the water in the jar. Let the fish do the flavoring. Add a little vegetable oil if you like.
4. Pot roast. It often goes on sale and the next time it does, buy a bunch and home can it. Cutting the roast into small chunks, adding a little salt and then processing it in the pressure cooker is all you need to do to add some nice red meat to your food storage.
5. Bacon. This is something few people want to live without. Canning it and adding it to your food storage means that, during a blackout or crisis, you will be able to make Sunday breakfast like you used to, bacon included.
6. Hot dogs. OK, it may not be the healthiest food, but imagine being able to grill up some hot dogs or whip up a batch of corn dogs for your little ones, even if the food in the freezer is spoiled. Hot dogs are cheap and often go on sale during the summer months, which is a perfect time to load up.
7. Butter. This is another staple you won’t want to live without. Load up on butter when it goes on sale and melt it down to put into your canning jars. It is important to note that the USDA does not have any approved methods for canning dairy products, and actually discourages it. However, any seasoned homesteader or canner will probably tell you many stories about eating canned butter without getting sick. Ghee, which is basically canned butter — regularly used in foreign countries.
8. Cheese. Cheese, glorious cheese in all styles like mozzarella, cheddar and even cream cheese. Again, this is another one of those items that people have been home canning for decades, but there is no official approved method. There is always some concern about bacteria growth, but if you go through the canning process the right way and store the jars in cool areas, you reduce the risk of bacteria growing and making anybody ill.
9. Cake. This is something nobody wants to live without, but baking a cake during a blackout or emergency could be difficult. Having jars filled with your favorite flavor of cake ready to eat when you get that craving will be an appreciated luxury. Cake mixes are easy to make or buy in bulk and you can fill your shelves with lots of cooked cakes to make any occasion a little more special.
What foods would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
The ability to grow plants and raise fish organically without the use of pesticides or fertilizers is accomplished through a method called aquaponics. This system of growing plants and raising fish without the use of soil was discovered by researchers from the University of Virgin Islands while looking for ways through which you can grow plants organically. And, with just a little sweat equity and a few dollars, you too can have a backyard aquaponics system working for you!
How Does It Work?
Basically, aquaponics works in a win-win situation. What happens is that it combines the traditional aquaculture with hydroponics. In aquaponics, plants feed on the effluents released by aquatic animals. Those plants, in turn, purify water to keep the fish more comfortable.
Between 2006 and 2007, this technique was widely adapted and is now commercially used on many farms to grow plants organically. According to some farmers, aquaponics grows plants 50%-100% faster as compared to inorganic farming. With just a small amount of space, you’re able to deliver ten times more as compared to older methods.
What Is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is essentially the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants). This process takes advantage of the aquatic affluent (fish waste) deposited in water to provide essential nutrients to your plants. When the water is affluent rich, it becomes toxic to the aquatic animals. During this stage, plants absorb and use the nutrients eliminating the high water toxicity for your fish to survive.
There are so many benefits you’ll enjoy when you make a backyard aquaponic system. Unlike a fish pond where you’ll have to exchange water every now and then, an aquaponic system relies on the relationship between plants and aquatic animals. Freshwater fish release ammonia which is converted to nitrite by a nitrifying bacterium called nitrosomonas. Another nitrifying bacterium called nitrobacter converts the nitrite to nitrate which is used by the plants to freshen the water for the fish. This process of converting ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate is referred to as “the nitrogen cycle.”
Types of Aquaponic Systems
There are three major types of Aquaponic systems:
Media Filled Beds
This method is the simplest and is commonly used in most backyard aquaponics systems. It involves filling containers with medium and small clay pebbles then planting seedlings directly into the media.
Fish tank water is then pumped over the media to allow the plants to feed on the excess nutrients. The medium clay pebbles act as biological filters where they help to eliminate toxins giving your fish fresh and clean water in the long run.
There are two major ways which this Aquaponics system can be operated: continuous water flow method and the flood and drain (also known as ebb and flow) method.
Nutrient Film Technique
This method involves pumping nutrient rich fish water through PVC pipes. Plants are grown inside cups with small holes at the bottom to allow the roots to reach the water in the PVC gutters.
It’s important to understand that this method is only suitable for leafy green plants with small root systems and not larger plants with bigger, invasive roots.
Deep Water Culture
This method is commonly used in both commercial and backyard aquaponics systems because it’s relatively cheaper to setup and operate. This method uses a foam “raft” which floats on top of water. Plants are held in holes made in the raft in a way that the roots dangle into the water. For perfect results, fish water can either be pumped on the floating racks or the racks can be placed directly on fish water.
Benefits of a Backyard Aquaponics System
Setting up a backyard aquaponics system in your garden comes with lots of benefits such as environmental improvement, better health and higher quality nutrition. This section will review some of the most essential benefits which farmers can expect to enjoy.
Unlike other gardening methods, aquaponics system allows you to plant your seedlings close together thus saving on space. Since this method involves submerging plant roots in nutrient rich water, there is less overcrowding which helps you save on space as compared to other gardening techniques.
Another benefit of backyard aquaponics system is that you don’t have to weed anymore. This method doesn’t encourage the growth of weeds since there is no soil involved. Farmers are able to enjoy the freedom of growing plants at home without weeding.
No Soil Pests
Since Aquaponics doesn’t rely on soil, farmers are relieved the burden of using pesticides to eliminate soil pests. Pesticides destroy the plant slowly over time due to toxins absorbed by the plant.
Plants Grow Faster
Backyard aquaponics system allows plants to access nutrients for 24 hours each day making them grow faster. According to research, vegetables such as lettuce have been proven to grow twice as fast as compared to when planted normally on soil.
Making Your Own Backyard Aquaponics System
There are many ways through which you can make your own backyard aquaponics system. Regardless of the method you choose, always ensure that your system is able to grow plants in a way that confers most of the environmental benefits such as low environmental impacts and water efficiency.
Without wasting time, we will go through a step by step program on how to make a Flood and Drain system.
Flood and drain system
Necessary Equipment and Material
- ~50-gal Fish Tank
- Tank Cover
- Gravel / Grow Bed Fill
- Pipes & Fittings (as required)
- A Grow Bed (roughly 6 – 8-ft3 and 12-in deep)
- Water Pump
- Place your fish tank on a flat surface away from direct sun to reduce algae growth.
- Place the pump and feed pipe in the fish tank.
- Place the grow bed near the fish tank. Fill it with gravel and make sure it’s close to the fill pipe. Also make sure the drain pipe from the grow bed feeds directly into the fish tank.
- Install the timer on the pump and set it to cycle for 15min on, 45 min off.
- Join the pipes and the pump together to connect the fish tank with the grow bed. Also remember to connect the overflow drain in the grow bed to remove water.
- Plant your seedlings into the grow bed and place your fish inside the fist tank.
- Test your fish water to determine the level of Ammonium, nitrite and nitrate. If you notice that the pH level is high or low, you can adjust it accordingly to keep the water neutral.
- Turn on the pump to start the cycling process. This involves circulating nutrient rich water from the fish tank to the grow bed then back to the tank again. After a few days, you’ll notice that your seedlings are growing; a milestone which reveals that your aquaponics system was successfully established.
In summary, there are tons of benefits which farmers enjoy once they set up a backyard aquaponics system. The system is cost efficient and makes backyard gardening more productive and economical. According to research, aquaponic systems use about 1/10th the amount of water used when farming on the ground. This technique helps you produce a tremendous amount of fish and vegetables within a short time in a small area.
Generating an income that can sustain operations on the homestead is critical for many of us.
Newly established homesteads require a decent amount of income to add acreage, outbuildings and livestock, as well as purchasing many other items or services. Well-established homesteads also require a steady income to repair and replace, upgrade and add on to provide for needs or wants. Perhaps you are looking to replace an income from a 9-5 job; there are numerous ways to make that happen on every homestead.
Homesteaders, especially those who have the desire to be completely self-sufficient, are frequently researching new opportunities to generate a sustainable income on the homestead. We sell fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets, livestock to local butchers, and milk and eggs to friends and neighbors.
Ready to try something new this year?
Fish farming, used for centuries in many parts of Asia, is also a good way to generate income on the homestead. Also called aquaculture, fish farming provides not only enough meat for those living on the homestead, but will eventually produce plenty to sell at local markets. It need not be expensive, either. The cost of setting up an aquaculture system can be relatively low for those who already have water sources on the homestead, such as a pond or stream.
Fish farming is similar to growing plants. Fish require steady temperatures, daily nourishment, and relatively clean water to flourish. Providing these essentials will result in large, firm fish that will make for easier sales in local markets. In my area, we have a couple of fish farms that regularly sell out of each week’s harvest during the farmer’s market season. They have found that aquaculture generates an income great enough to sustain the rest of their homestead every year.
There are several methods for small-scale fish farming, including:
- The cage method, which can be further modified to include a flow-through component.
- The greenhouse method, which includes raising hydroponic plants to filter and add nutrients to the water.
- The contained method, in which one pool or tank is used in conjunction with several filters and aerators to maintain water quality.
Which method you choose depends largely on what water sources are available around your homestead. The cage method, consisting of a system of cages submerged in ponds, is perhaps the least expensive method, as ponds have a natural filtration system in place. A slight variation on the cage method involves using a nearby stream with a system of cages, allowing water to flow freely through each cage and providing nutrients to the fish that are carried to them continuously by fresh water.
Starting a greenhouse operation is the most difficult, due to the many variables that need to be taken into consideration. In addition to the cost of the greenhouse materials and tanks for holding large volumes of water, you also may need to purchase or produce chillers or other cooling mechanisms in extremely hot weather to keep water temperatures in the range necessary for the fishes’ survival — a considerable financial investment.
A simple pool or even a livestock tank can be used to set up a contained system for aquaculture. Water filters and aerators will definitely be a necessity to ensure healthy fish. This type of system can be quite inexpensive.
Not all types of fish will flourish in your location. Choosing the right type of fish for your homestead’s environment may take a bit of trial and error, but a small amount of research will lessen the amount of losses due to the weather.
Have you ever “fish farmed”? Share your tips and advice in the section below:
When we think of the Native Americans of centuries ago, we tend to think of a nomadic warrior people, living in teepees and following the buffalo herds. This image comes mainly from the Plains Indians, who depended on bison for their survival. But not all tribes were the same. Many were quite stable, living in the same place for years and augmenting the game they hunted with crops that they grew.
We need look no further than American history to confirm this. The Pilgrims, arriving at Plymouth, nearly died of starvation their first winter. But although some did die, many more survived. Their prosperity that next year was largely due to the local Native American tribe, which taught them how to successfully farm.
But the farming techniques of Native Americans were different than that of Europeans. They didn’t use draft animals and they didn’t plow the soil. This has led many to believe that their farms were simple slash-and-burn operations, where they cleared an area in the forest by killing off whatever was there and planted crops until their efforts depleted the soil, at which time they would move on to start a similar operation elsewhere.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. A slash-and-burn operation would go contrary to the Native American’s way of life, which was much more in harmony with nature than Europeans or Anglo-Americans can imagine. To kill plants, merely to plant others, would be beyond their understanding.
Rather, the Indians farmed in harmony with nature, planting in many small beds. Their farms were sustainable as well, mostly depending on perennials that aren’t cultivated today. But by using perennials, they were able keep their gardens going, with less effort and greater yields. In some places, they cultivated over 250 varieties of plants, using the plants for everything from food, to construction, to building canoes and producing dyes and glues.
In fact, the yields of the Native Americans in the Northeast part of what is now the United States were so great that their corn (or maize) production regularly out-produced that of the wheat farmers of England. Part of this was due to the higher yield that corn produces, but part was due to their superior farming techniques — techniques that did not require plowing or draft animals.
So what can we learn from the farming style of Native Americans who lived nearly 400 years ago? Here’s just a few tips:
Start With the Soil
Any gardener knows that the most important part of any garden is the soil. Without good soil, no garden is going to produce well. In this, Native Americans in the past had an advantage, as the soil was deep and rich. In most parts, the soil had a high biomass content, which is essential to replacing the nutrients.
Native Americans also knew how to care for that soil. They didn’t plow the land like European farmers. Recent experimentation is proving that plowing is not healthy for the soil. More than anything, it brings the subterraneous microorganisms to the surface, where they die. By not plowing, you keep the soil healthier by keeping these microorganisms alive.
One of the most important subterraneous organisms in any garden are mycorrhizal fungi. These attach to the roots of plants, forming a symbiotic relationship with them. While the fungi feed off the plant, they also extend the roots system, drawing in water and nutrients for the plant. A garden with a good network of these fungi will grow faster, produce healthier plants, and bring higher yields of produce.
Any soil is going to need added nutrients to replace those used by the plants growing in the garden. Native Americans understood this and were constantly providing nutrition to the soil of their gardens.
Composting wasn’t a separate activity for Native Americans who farmed. They didn’t have a compost heap or compost bin. Rather, their gardens were their compost heaps. Leftover plant matter was cut up and placed directly in the garden to break down and provide nutrients.
At the same time, adding plant matter to the soil functioned like mulch, covering the soil and preventing weeds from growing. This basically eliminated the need to weed, preventing one more activity which would disturb the soil.
Potash is essentially wood ash. But the potash used by Native Americans went a bit farther than that. They would throw the bones from their kills in the fire, as well as the shells from bird eggs. This allowed the bones and shells to burn, breaking them down so that they were ready to add to the soil. Ashes were regularly spread on their vegetable gardens, providing valuable nutrients, especially calcium.
Urine is an almost perfect fertilizer, containing many of the essential nutrients that plants need for growth. However, in its natural state, it is too acidic. So Native Americans would mix urine with water to dilute it. The acid was still there, but it was not concentrated. Added to the garden, the potash, which was alkaline, would counteract the acid in the urine and bring the pH of the soil back into balance.
Urine also served the purpose of “marking” the garden, helping to keep some pests out. Animals regularly mark their territory, warning other animals. While this doesn’t serve as a warning sign to you and I, it does to raccoons and other animals who would love to feast at our gardens.
Another thing we should all remember from our elementary school lessons about the Pilgrims is the use of fish as a fertilizer. Not all tribes used fish, and those that did usually didn’t use the whole fish. Rather, they used the leftover parts from cleaning and eating the fish. Like urine, fish contains all the necessary nutrients for plant growth, making it one of the best fertilizers around.
With the use of natural fertilizers, one major source of chemicals was eliminated from the Native American garden. Another way that they avoided chemicals is not using chemical pesticides. Granted, they didn’t have modern pesticides, but the point isn’t whether they had them or not, it’s whether they used them or not.
Not using chemicals in their gardens had another advantage. It made the garden a great habitat for toads, turtles, praying mantises and birds, who ate the insects which would otherwise destroy the plants in the garden.
Almost everyone who has grown a vegetable garden has heard of the “Three Sisters” – corn, beans and squash. This traditional means of planting was common for Native Americans. Each of these three provide benefits for the others, making them an excellent combination to plant together.
But Native Americans didn’t just plant the sisters together. Their gardens were a mixture of many different things. By mixing plant types, rather than making neat rows, they prevented insects from traveling from plant to plant, destroying them.
I mentioned earlier that Native Americans planted for sustainability, using many perennials. They also harvested in a way to prolong the life of the plants. Rather than dig up a plant and take all its fruit, they’d only remove what they needed at the time. With a potato plant, for example, they’d only take a few potatoes, covering the roots back up so that the plant could replace them.
Although not as commonly thought of as part of gardening, aquaculture is an important aspect of farming. Some tribes depended greatly on freshwater water life as a part of their diet. The salmon in the Northwest, as well as fresh water shellfish, were consumed by various Native American tribes.
While they left these water creatures to thrive in the wild, they did cultivate them. Mostly, this was by improving their environment so that they could grow well. They moved rocks to create the most productive clam beds and transplanted salmon eggs to new stream beds. In this, they increased their yields of these creatures, helping to ensure an abundance of food.
What would you add? Share your thoughts on how Native Americans gardened in the section below:
Pickling is not just about cucumbers and green tomatoes. Pickling, in fact, is a great way to preserve and enjoy your daily catch of fish.
Making your own pickled fish is both easy and can be accomplished with a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular fish for pickling include pike, salmon, trout and sucker.
There are many benefits to pickling fish. One is the fact that the vinegar in the pickling brine actually works to dissolve and soften any bones in the fish. I’ll usually try to pull out the Y-bones in a pike or the pin bones in a salmon, but it’s harder to do with a small trout and almost impossible given the number of small bones in a sucker. That’s where the vinegar really helps to soften and dissolve the bones, much like you find in canned sardines or anchovies.
Pickled fish is very healthy, for a number of reasons:
- The softened and partially dissolved bones are an excellent source of calcium.
- If you choose to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, then you reap all of the health benefits associated with it.
- Many of the herbs and spices used in various brine recipes have proven benefits — turmeric, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and both dill and fennel fronds.
- If you’re diabetic or subject to edema, then you can reduce the amounts of sugar or salt in a brining recipe to suit your taste.
Unlike traditional canning methods that call for the jars to be immersed in a hot water bath for a period of time, fish pickling is a cold-pickling process. It often requires a cold soak in the refrigerator for a day or two in a pre-soak brine before you make the final, flavored brine for the jars.
You’ll also need to sanitize the jars in boiling water before filling them with the fish chunks and other ingredients. All pickled fish must be refrigerated or kept cool in some way at 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The safest shelf life is two weeks or less.
Some recipes recommend that fish like pike be frozen for 48 hours prior to pickling to kill any potential parasites in the fish.
We’re going to cover several recipes with salmon, trout, sucker and pike. Here’s some of the basic equipment you’ll need:
- Glass canning jars and lids.
- Cutting board and knife
- Tongs for putting the fish chunks into the jars
- A non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel)
- A large, non-reactive bowl for marinating (glass or ceramic)
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
This recipe has long marinating and holding time to allow the vinegar to thoroughly dissolve the many bones in the fish.
2 quarts of sucker cut into one inch by half inch chunks
- ½ cup of salt
- 1 quart of vinegar
- 2 cups of vinegar (white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar with at least a 5 percent acetic acid concentration)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of pickling spice
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 sliced onion separated into rings
Mix the salt, vinegar and water and pour over fish in a glass or ceramic bowl or crock. Weigh down the fish with a plate to keep it immersed. Let stand 5 days in the refrigerator, and then drain and rinse with water. Pack in jar. Put fish, then layer of onion, then fish. Mix 2 cups vinegar, sugar and pickling spices and wine and heat and stir in a non-reactive saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Let cool, and pour into jars. Do not cook. Let stand 5 days in the fridge.
This recipe also has a marinating step to dissolve the y-bones common in northern pike.
- 1 pound of thawed northern pike fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 quart white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 cloves, whole
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
Make a brine combining the salt with a quart of water in a Mason jar or glass bowl. Add the pike to the brine and soak for 24 hours. Drain the fish, but do not rinse it. Add a quart of vinegar to the fish and soak for an additional 24 hours. Drain the fish.
Combine a cup of vinegar, a half cup of water, and the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar, and then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
In a 1-quart Mason jar, add a quarter of the fish, then add some of the spices and sliced carrot and onion. Repeat with the remainder of the fish, spices, and vegetables so that the ingredients are layered and evenly dispersed. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least three days to allow the flavors to develop.
Pickled Trout or Salmon
- 2 pounds trout or salmon
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 red onion sliced into rings
Combine water, vinegar, seasonings and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar, and let cool. Rinse filets and cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice onion. Arrange fish and onion rings in alternate layers in sterilized jars. Cover with pickling solution. Refrigerate at least three days before serving. The fish will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Have you ever pickled fish? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Every homestead can benefit from a small scale aquaponics system. Let’s examine some of the reasons you might want to try one this year:
Enjoyment. It’s fun to watch fish grow and swim (even under ice in the winter). It’s also fascinating that you can grow healthy plants without soil.
Fresh produce. So many plants can be grown in aquaponics systems. The main consideration is the temperature if you plan on keeping the plants in the system. Example: scallions and strawberries can be kept year-round. Tomatoes, peppers and such are only growable in the warmer months, unless you have the system in a heated area.
Fresh fish. Even in a small system, you can raise edible fish. Catfish, perch and tilapia are all good, edible fish. You can even raise minnows or Koi to sell!
Natural fertilizer. I love using my fish water for fertilizer. A cup of fish water diluted into 5 gallons of water will be a nice light fertilizer for your garden or house plants.
Building a small aquaponics system is flexible. You can be as low tech as using a heavy tarp for a small pond liner, or you can purchase an aquaponics tank setup. I will explain how I have my system, which cost under $100 and has been running over a year.
I used an old recycled 12-foot pool. This is one of the pools you can buy at just about any general store with an inflating ring on top. The pump will not be any good, but you can buy a small fish pond pump for about $25. The plant container I used was the top of a plastic drum, so it had the two bung holes in the bottom. Along with these supplies, I used some stone that I had in the driveway to serve as growing media.
To summarize, the important components included only the following:
1. Old recycled 12-foot pool.
2. 1 plastic drum.
3. Stone (small driveway stone).
1. Dig a hole in the ground, 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet (saves money and keeps the pond cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter).
2. Place some sand in the bottom of the hole.
3. Use some old tarp and rugs to line the hole (to prevent puncturing the pool liner).
4. Put in the pool liner.
5. Fill the pond, but don’t drain your well! (You could use collected rain water.)
6. Pull out creases in the pond liner as you fill it. (So cleaning the walls in the future won’t be a hassle.)
Now that you have a small in-ground pool, it’s time to work on the growing container.
1. Cut the top of the drum. (I used a jigsaw, but you can use a circular saw carefully).
2. If using the top of the drum, cut it about 12 to 18 inches deep and use the end with the bungs.
3. Put a couple of treated 4x4s across your pond to rest the “drum top” on. Obviously, the bung holes will be facing down and keep the bung holes from draining on the treated lumber.
Time to fill the container
1. Place large stones over the bung holes so that small stones won’t fall through.
2. Fill container with stone (river rock, driveway stone, etc.).
3. Place your pond pump in the pond and the hose in the center of the growing container.I put a 6-inch terracotta planter bottom on top of my planter, and I have my hose pouring into that so it helps distribute the water.
4. I put a 6-inch terracotta planter bottom on top of my planter, and I have my hose pouring into that so it helps distribute the water.
This system works well and allows you even to take onion bottoms you cut and grow them into onion tops. Get creative and enjoy your own small aquaponics system. One last tip: Get some barley straw and toss it into your pond (it will naturally kill the algae that will grow in a pond).
Do you have any aquaponics tips? Share your advice in the section below:
If you live far enough north that lakes or rivers freeze over winter, it makes sense to fish all winter long when the bounty is available through the ice. While you can go out on the ice without a shelter and fish on a fair day, you will get more fishing days in and be more comfortable while doing it if you have an ice-fishing shelter.
It’s true that you can purchase many ice huts and tents intended for ice-fishing, but for real flexibility you should consider designing a custom shelter that precisely meets your needs.
In reality, you can use almost anything as an ice-fishing shelter if it keeps you warm and meets local building codes. Innovative sportsmen have used recycled trailers, sheds, plastic outbuildings, large crates, and their own construction to create a variety of shelters that do the trick. You don’t need to overthink your ice-fishing shelter. Look around at local classifieds or in your own backyard to find a structure or trailer that you can repurpose. If you can use some repurposed materials, you can quickly and easily construct something that will keep you very comfortable.
There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what will work best for you:
You will want to have room in the walls of your shelter to add some kind of insulation, maybe foam, and to properly insulate any doors or openings. Most ice-fishing shelters also have a stove or other heat source; if you have room in yours, you may want to consider installing a chimney and stove to keep the shelter toasty and provide you with a cooking surface. Wood stoves are common, since propane can create more hazards if not properly ventilated. However, either stove type will need to be used with caution. Locate your heat source away from your exit, in case of fire.
There are many tiny fishing houses out there, and indeed there is some appeal to the solitude of fishing alone in the peace and stillness of winter. Still, most shelters will accommodate at least one guest. Fold-up benches and tables are nice if you can build them in to your shelter. When you’re alone, you can just fold them away.
If you’re building your shelter, the sky is the limit with how much you can spend on materials, with everything from expensive finishings to gadgetry available on the market. At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, vinyl on a PVC frame will keep you from the wind, but it won’t keep you very warm. For something middle-of-the-road, try plywood sheets, 2x4s, foam insulation and shrink wrap: snug and cheap.
How will you move your shelter on to the ice? If you are repurposing a trailer, you’re ahead of the game because you’ve got wheels. This gives you a lot of flexibility, since you can easily tow your shelter from place to place to find fish or try a new lake. If your structure doesn’t have wheels, you can build a skid for it, or else mount it with wheels or skis to move it around the ice. You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.
You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.
Fishing Holes and Fittings
Don’t neglect to consider the logistics of how you are going to fish in your shelter. You’re not just going out on the ice to sit comfortably with a book! Depending on the size of your floor, you may have 1 – 10 holes cut into it and through the ice. Ensure that you have secure covers for these holes to make sure no one steps through them when you’re not fishing.
Other matters to plan for include shelves for drying wet gear, hooks for storing rods when not in use, coolers for fish, and possibly even a cleaning station. Some anglers install entertainment in their ice-fishing huts, such as televisions or games tables; don’t do it at the cost of your fishing.
Once you’ve got something practical and workable, don’t be afraid to add a little flair. There is real creativity out on the ice, with everything from whale-shaped ice shelters to geodesic domes to mural painting expressing the wit and personality of the designer. You may even catch more fish!
No matter what, an alert angler is better at noticing his catches, so it’s worth the effort to make a place where you won’t be fighting the cold.
What advice would you add on making an ice-fishing shelter? Share your tips in the section below:
Transcription provided by American Preppers Network
Number of speakers: 1 (Backwoods Gourmet)
Duration: 11 min 36 sec
Dutch Oven Fish Fry (Video & Transcript)
BG: “Hey folks what we have here is something that most people in Florida consider a trash fish. This is Southern chain Pickerel. Okay, it’s lost a little color because I just brought him off the ice. He’s a predator fish, he’s got pike. Look at the mouth on that joker. He can eat a lot of stuff. Old timers use to just knock these guys in the head, kill em and through em back in the water. This ones got something big in his belly. We’ll try and see what that is. He’s eaten something very larger. For his size he can wolf down a huge fish. Like I said, most people either just through these guys back or just kill them or leave them out there for the gators. The old timers call this fish in Florida a Fresh Water Jack. It is a cousin to the northern pike. Much smaller. This one is average size but they get much bigger than this. Maybe 3-4 pounds. I’ve even seen a few around 6 pounds but this is a very good fish to eat.”
“Skin off. Like I said, those look like 2 beautiful fillets of fish. The problem is just like every other pike there are those Y bones running the entire link of the fish. Now that we have this filleted you can go down this middle and you can feel the Y bones and may be able to see the little tips of them. They extend down like your spread fingers all the way through that filet. So we are just gonna try to find the edges of them all the way down there and let the knife just kind of follow them. I can feel the pressure of them as I go down and take this strip off you’ll be able to actually see them. This is, believe me, I would never go through this trouble with this particular fish if this was not worth it. You can see there is the Y bone there, but that piece right there is completely boneless. You can feel it with your fingers. Beautiful piece of fish right there so we’re gonna save that one. Now it does the same thing on the bottom side. I see a few bits of the bones, a little piece of the rib left. Down here at the tail end we are gonna kind of do the same thing. We are gonna cut down until we feel that Y bone. Let the knife follow it. Even if these pieces are very small, they are delicious. “
“We got a couple nice crappy today to. We are just gonna go head and filet them out. Another tutorial filleting we are just gonna go ahead and get these guys ready for the Dutch oven and go ahead and cook these guys on an open fire for you guys today. I try to do the least wasted meat as possible. Fish is ready to go on the fire and the Dutch oven warming up with the oil.
“What we are gonna do is a very simple hush puppy mix. One cup of corn meal, one teaspoon of baking powder. So dry ingredient’s a teaspoon of garlic, a teaspoon of pepper and salt. Boom. Combine the dry ingredients alright. Next thing we got is about a half a cup of finely chopped sweet onion. Optional. It’s really good in hush puppies though. Throw that in and then we’ve got one beaten egg and a little bit of water to bring it up to ¾ of a cup. Pour that in and incorporate that. While we are looking here our consistency we are looking for on this is a little thicker than corn bread. We want it to be able to hold together enough that we can drop it into hot oil. That’s about right. Really thick cake batter or pancake batter. Not as soupy as corn bread. We’ll just let that sit a minute and we’ll be ready to make hush puppies.”
“Alright we’re gonna go ahead and dredge our pickerel strips, this is a half cup corn meal, half cup flour, and a good couple tablespoons of butt rub. Go ahead and dredge those and get em good and coated. We got a couple of good fillets there. Crappy or as we call them here in Florida, speckled perch. Dredge em up and let em set over here on the pan and get em ready. Got a couple people to feed. (Dropping in hot oil)”
“Okay folks, as usual we’re gonna plate this up backwoods gourmet style. Got some fresh Romain from the garden here. Gonna go ahead and place that on the bottom of the plate as part of our garnish and also a nice, fresh cool component. Over the top of that we are gonna squeeze a sour orange. These are all over Florida where peoples trees have frozen and they don’t make sweet oranges anymore. It is a lot like a lemon, very sour. Gonna go ahead and arrange a couple fillets here. A couple pretty ones cooked in the Dutch oven. And then strip of our pickerel. Most people call it trash fish. Then we got three beautiful hush puppies to go with that and then a couple of wedges of the sour orange segment’s to compliment the dish. Alright so another beautiful plate cooked on an open fire. You can do this and it is delicious.”
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Most of us use fishing as a recreational activity. But fishing started out as a necessity for human beings rather than anything else. And what if a time comes when you’ll find yourself obligated to fish for no other purpose than to feed yourself or your family? There are plenty of survival scenarios that could happen and might force you to resort to fishing for survival. If the SHTF scenario finds you at home and prepared, with all the fishing gear you need at your disposal, good. That means one less thing to worry about. But what if you happen to find yourself stranded or you’re forced to leave your home without having enough time to pack your fishing gear too? There are water sources around and “plenty of fish in the sea” but nothing to catch them with. Well, you’re not doomed to starve, that’s for sure. There are plenty of primitive fishing techniques developed way before modern fishing that could very well be implemented today. Sure, fishing with the latest gear is preferable, but if that’s not an option, at least there are other ways that, although are unorthodox, at least they work.
D.I.Y. fishing spear
There is more than one way of improvising such a tool. If you’re aim is good enough and your hand is steady you can make a single point spear. Just find a branch or a piece of wood that’s long enough and simply attach to one end either a blade or a piece of bone that’s sharp enough to pierce flesh. A piece of durable plastic will do just as well. Simply carve enough space at one end of the branch (without breaking it) that’s wide enough to jam the point of the spear in. After you’re done, simply tie the end with a piece of rope or even duct tape and you have yourself a fishing spear. If you’re using a knife, know that exposure to water will deteriorate the quality of the metal in time, so you won’t be able to use it for much else. Another way of doing it is to simply carve the spear tip directly in the branch, by sharpening it with a blade or another sharp object at your disposal. But this won’t be a very durable result, especially if you miss a lot. Hitting the wooden tip on hard surfaces (rocks and sediments) will break it eventually.
But what if you’re a bad that can’t even harpoon a shark in a fish tank? No worries, this mean’s the multi-headed fishing spear is the right tool for you. Take a branch that’s durable enough and split one for about 6 inches long, as many times as you can. Sharpen the multi heads of the spear and tie them last 2 – 3 firmly with the rope, to prevent them from splitting further and eventually breaking. Now find a twig that’s strong enough to keep the “teeth” of the spear separated. You’ll not only hit your prey easily pierce it easily, but the shock from the hit will eject the twig, closing the “spear jaws”. That fish won’t know what hit him.
The multi-headed fishing spear
D.I.Y. fishing gear
Those of you who just can’t give up modern fishing or who simply find spear fishing too primitive can improvise their very own lures, lines and fish hooks. Hooks are easiest to make. If you have a soda can in hand, you can cut the tab a pair of pliers or strong scissors into a hook shape. Anything goes if you creative enough, from safety pins, nails or paper clips to thorns and bones. If you have a sharp knife on you and the patience to do it, you can make your very own toggle hook, used by our primitive ancestors. This is a 1 inch hook made from durable material (bone, sea shells or wood) that’s sharpened at both ends and curbed. It’s attached to the fishing line by its mid section and hidden bait. When the prey swallows the bait, the hook jams in its throat.
Bait shouldn’t be much of a problem, as there is plenty of natural bait around, even in urban environments. Fish tend to go for everything wiggling, so you’ll have no problem if you’ll be using grubs, ants, night crawlers, centipedes, millipedes, maggots, earthworms, caterpillars, beetles etc. If one type of bait doesn’t work, keep trying on until you find the right one. Considering you’ll be in survival situation, you might as well be fishing with multiple fishing lines. So trying out different types of bait and making a statistic shouldn’t be a long and lengthy process at all.
Fishing line is probably the biggest challenge you’ll have to face. Although it’s hard to improvise, it’s not impossible. It can be made out of clothing material (ripped or torn), wire, twisted tree bark, dental floss and pretty much everything else that’s thin enough to attach itself to the fishing pole and strong enough to pull a fish out of the water.
Improvised tab hook
D.I.Y. fishing nets
In some cases this method can be more efficient than the tradition line and hook method. You can use clothing material or pretty much any material that’s strong enough for the job. You can attach two pieces at the extremities and simply walk around with the improvised net submersed. This is very practical if you’re using it in a small lake or stream, but not if you find yourself at the ocean. You’ll have to start from the deepest spot and work your way with the net still immersed to the shallowest spot. When you get there, close the net and pick it up quickly.
It’s probably the most primitive fishing method available. But still, it works. This activity goes by many names (hogging, graveling, noodling, fish tickling etc.) and it varies in technique from region to region. The easiest approach to hand fishing is to catch fish directly from their lairs or hideouts. Cat fish are easiest to catch due to their considerable size (which makes them easy to hold) and their slow response. Just find a fish lair and rich in and grab the fish out. It’s best if you can grab a direct hold of the gills and or on the inside of the mouth. Just make sure that whatever it is you’re grabbing doesn’t have teeth or spikes.
These are some of the easiest methods of fishing in a survival situation. There are more out there for you to discover. Many of them might not be legal in your state, but in a SHTF scenario, everything goes. So do not try them unless you don’t absolutely have to.
By Alec Deacon
DIY Health Options Keep the Doctor Away
By Frank Bates
There was a time when doctors had their patients’ best interests at heart. You could count on getting an honest – and, for the most part, accurate – diagnosis based on your symptoms, as well as an effective treatment plan.
Hopefully you still have a doctor like that, but in reality, there are too many people in the medical profession these days whose jobs depend on making money for their employers. As a result, far too many expensive tests are ordered and far too many unnecessary drugs are prescribed.
Even if doctors know that natural and healthy alternatives would be better for you, you won’t necessarily hear about them. They and the pharmaceutical companies have no qualms about draining your resources while weakening your system with potentially harmful drugs.
The single most important thing we can do to combat this problem is to discover and use alternative health options. This starts with staying as healthy as possible in the first place. Make natural, common sense decisions, including…
- Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables every day.
- Make sure you get plenty of Vitamin D for your bones and blood vessels, and B vitamins for breathing issues including asthma and wheezing.
- Eat walnuts to help lower your cholesterol, relieve your arthritis and battle depression.
- Drink coconut water for asymptomatic infections and take iodine for your thyroid and your circulation.
- Drink a little red wine for your heart and eat blueberries to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Drink apple cider vinegar and honey. In a 10-ounce glass of cold water, stir in two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of raw wildflower honey. Drink it as is or heat it up and drink it as a tea.
Because moods can affect how we feel physically, it’s also important to use natural means to remain as upbeat as possible. For mild depression, try some of these natural remedies:
- Consume fish oil and Vitamin D. Both are directly tied to emotional health. Eat fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon. Also, get 30 minutes of sun on your face and arms daily.
- Eat more protein and fat, and less carbs and sugar. Sugar can lead to chronic inflammation and suppress healthy proteins. Focus on organic, animal-based foods, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Consume herbs. Two herbs that have been shown to have beneficial effects on mood are Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum).
- Fast now and then. Fasting for a day or at least skipping a meal here and there helps your body digest and eliminate cellular debris. It’s a good way to clean out your system and elevate your mood.
- Exercise. Patients with depression improve as much as those treated with medication when they stick to an exercise program, according to studies.
- Laugh. Laughing lowers cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. The effect can continue hours after you’re finished laughing.
Frank Bates of 4Patriots LLC is the editor of the Patriot Alliance Messenger, as well as the content writer for blogs and articles at Patriot Headquarters. He is also the creator of Power4Patriots, a series of DIY solar videos and manuals; Food4Patriots, the supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage; Water4Patriots, featuring the Alexapure Pro tabletop water filtration system; SurvivalSeeds4Patriots, maker of the Liberty Seed Vault; Patriot Power Generator, a portable solar generator; and other products.
The most nutritious fish meat is considered very good for your heart, being rich in protein, minerals and vitamins (A, D and E), very important in maintaining good health. It also contains high-chains of omega 3 fats, selenium and it’s rather low in saturated fats (the bad kind of fats). A scientific studied conducted by professors Dariush Mozaffrian and Eric Rimm showed that eating a portion of 3 ounces of fatty fish (herring, salmon, mackerel etc.) 2 times a week reduces the chances of heart failure by 36%. The omega 3 fats in this case are key in protecting the heart from cardiac rhythm disturbances, maintaining a regular heartbeat. Erratic heartbeats can be very dangerous and potentially fatal if left untreated. They also lower blood pressure, improve the functionality of blood vessels and lower the levels of triglycerides. The studies on fish benefits for the circulatory system are approved by the American Heart Association.
It was also demonstrated (through observational studies) that the same omega 3 fats are extremely important for brain development and activity in infants. Studies confirm that the nervous system and brain in children whose mothers consumed fish during the pregnancy is far superior in development to children whose mothers did not include fish in their diet during the pregnancy and breast-feeding period.
Fortunately, fish is abundant and available to Americans, who should reconsider balancing their diets and making more room for such beneficial and nutritious substances which are found in fish meat. Let’s have a look and see our options.
The farmed Rainbow Trout
The rainbow trout is not only nutritious, but it’s also very delicious, preferred by many when it comes to cheap and affordable sea-food.
It’s not a particularly endangered species, but some varieties are not fit for consumption because they show signs of contamination with PCB chemicals (especially the species native to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron). It’s not pretentious when it comes to cooking. It’s best to leave the scales on while doing so, because this will remove the need of adding extra oil while coating or breading the fish. It’s excellent for simple recipes and goes great with mushroom sauces, spices or just lemon. Baking is best done at 400°F – 500°F, for 5 minutes on each side.
The wild-caught Alaskan Salmon
(Oncorhynchus kisutch and Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)
The wild-caught salmon is considered bettered healthier and better than the farmed kind, sine the farmed ones have double the dosage of unhealthy saturated fats than the wild ones. The omega 3 fats levels are the same. Even marketing giants, such as target have been stacking up lately on wild salmon, selling only salmon certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. This fish is perfect for salads or sandwiches, and it also goes great with white bean soup. There are plenty more recipes out there, each being tastier than the last.
The wild-caught Pacific Sardines
It’s astonishing the comeback these tiny fish made after the late 1950, when the nearly went extinct. They don’t have a good reputation when it comes to creative recipes and food assortments, but don’t let that fool you. Just because they’re been eating straight out of the can for the last hundred years, doesn’t mean there’s no potential available. If you feel like experimenting in an “unorthodox” manner, you can make or buy a mouth-watering sardines & white beans salad. If you feel like keeping the traditions alive, there’s always the ever-popular sardine sandwich with either plain or marinated sardines (garlic, tomato sauce, olive oil etc).
The wild-caught Albacore Tuna
This fish has gained a lot of bad reputation lately because of the suspicion of high levels of mercury poison. After scientific testing, tuna caught in Canadian and Western U.S. coasts have in fact proven to have lower amounts of poison in their bodies than anywhere else in the world. This is because these fish are generally younger and were exposed to the poisonous substance for lesser periods of time. The Albacore is not the type of fish that you find at your local everyday fish market or store. It’s hard to come by, but it’s mostly available at online stores, like Heritage Foods USA. The best Albacore I have ever eaten came in ht shape of tuna kebab, easy to prepare and delicious to the maximum. Simply prepare like regular kebabs, using tuna meat (even the loins) instead of chicken.
The farmed Barramundi or Asian seabass
It’s a very uncommon fish for most Americans, and with good reason. This white-fleshed fish is native to Australian waters, where aborigines firstly fished them by hand from their natural habitat, freshwater rivers. They are easy to breed and the U.S. farms have become highly specialized in doing so. They utilize land-based tanks in which the fish are being kept mainly on a vegetarian diet. It’s highly recommended to buy American, as the other countries farm these fish in ocean-based nets that are highly pollutant. The Barramundi can be simply cooked with lemon juice for dressing, whether It’s fried, grilled, or baked. But it can also be used for fancier recipes, like Barramundi with Swiss chard and roasted sweet potatoes.
As you can see, there is plenty of fish the sea! There are many unpopular species available throughout the U.S. that work wonders for the ones health, whether they’re bought off the internet or simply fished the old fashioned way.
By Alec Deacon
Another great one by Chaya Foedus:
I originally posted this recipe in 2013, and it is a family favorite. Yesterday, I served it to a last-minute house guest who made 2 major comments: it was delicious and he’d “have to remember this recipe” himself, and that he would never have thought to pair a cranberry sauce with fish. It definitely has…
The post 12 Minute Recipe: Buttered Fish in White Wine with Homemade Cranberry Sauce appeared first on Pantry Paratus.
In a survival situation you’ll have to feed yourself and food is not a matter to be picky about. Unless you’re a skilled hunter, with limitless supplies of ammo, you’ll have to change your options a bit, from delicacies to pretty much everything that has a heartbeat (or not even that).
The truth of the matter is: if it’s meat, you can eat it for sustenance. Almost all animals are fit for consumption, with the exceptions of course of those who are poisonous or detrimental in other ways to human health. But the list is not that long, and if you are trained a bit recognizing the poisonous species from the safe ones, you will not go hungry or jeopardize your health. Just prepare yourself mentally and accept the fact that you might find yourself animals to catch and eat; animals that not only walk or fly, but also crawl, swim, or buzz. If you are strong enough to overcome this mental barrier, you’ll find that meat is meat, no matter the shape or size it comes in.
In order to be as efficient as possible in gathering resources with the upmost of ease, you’ll need to read up a bit in the matter. Be aware of the animal life that’s native to your surroundings and know their lifestyle and patterns. So you’ll need to understand the behavior, food preferences, mating season and availability of a certain species. It’s important, as may prove very tricky to track down and hunt while others may be just sitting around for the taking.
In principle, mammals are the best source of proteins available and to Americans is the food of choice. But hunting or
procuring mammal meat has disadvantages also. Most of them won’t come without a fight and the amount of damage an animal can inflict is directly proportionate to its size. So if you’re planning on hunting large game, it’s advised you do so with
professional hunting equipment. But it’s not always a matter of size, as even smaller mammals, like wild boars and even small rodents, can get very aggressive in order to protect their young. In a survival scenario, be very cautious as not to get bitten or scratched;
an infected open wound is the last thing you need. Almost all mammals are edible without boundaries, with few exceptions: scavengers (most of them are carrying diseases), the platypus (it has poisonous glands), the polar bear (has dangerously high levels of vitamin A in the liver) and more.
All species of birds are edible without boundaries and the only variables consist in size and flavor. As most of them fly, it’s very important to know and understand a specie’s habits in order to catch them easily. The best ones to catch are the ones that don’t put much of a fight. So during night time, pigeons can be easily picked up by hand out of their nests. And many other types of birds won’t tend to fly away when nesting, even if they sense the danger. So picking them up it’s just a mere formality. Most birds have a clear pattern, which is easily observable. If you study them carefully enough, you’ll know when and where they fly out from the nest area, in order to drink or procure food. If the nesting area is out of reach, the drinking or feeding spot could become a possible hunting ground. Catching them is easily done by setting traps and snares.
Nesting habits and patterns
Fish meat is extremely nutritious; not only is it an excellent source of protein, but also of beneficial fasts. They’re usually more abundant then mammals and most ways of procuring fish are way easier than hinting. Here too comes in play the knowledge of the patterns and behaviors of species. For instance, almost all species tend to feed abundantly before storms, because right after a storm the water tends to get muddy and impure.
So the best time for fishing is right before bad weather. If the water currents tend to get stronger than usual, fish tend to rest in “sanctuaries” where the water is calmer, like near rocks or other sturdy spots like logs, submerged foliage etc. They also have a tendency towards light during night time.
Salt-water fish can be poisonous, so you have to be aware of what you’re about to eat. Best stay away from species like red snapper, thorn fish, cow fish, puffer fish, porcupine fish etc. But the ones that are safe to eat, if you catch them further away from the shore, you can even eat raw. This is possible due to the high levels of salinity in deep waters, which prevents parasitic infestation.
It’s a whole different story when it comes to fresh-water fish. All of them must be thoroughly cooked before eating, in order to kill off all the parasites. As an up-side, fresh water fish are never poisonous. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be cautious when it comes to wandering into fresh-water. The catfish for example has very sharp needles in on its dorsal fin and barbels, which can deeply pierce into human flesh. So tread carefully and avoid painful wounds and infections.
The spikes in the dorsal fin and barbles (the Catfish)
Most crustaceans are easy to spot and catch. The fresh-water shrimp can measure 0.25cm – 1 inch and can form large colonies or simply swim around vegetation. They can also be found in the mud vegetation of lakes. The larger crustaceans, like lobsters, crabs and shrimps are usually found where the water reaches about 30 feet deep. Lobsters and crabs are best caught during night time, with either a baited hook or a baited trap. Shrimp often comes at the surface of the water during night-time, attracted by light, making it easy for you to just scoop them up. Crayfish is also a great crustacean to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re akin to lobsters and crabs and can be found in the soft mud near the breathing holes of their nests or by round rocks in streams (but only during the day time, since they’re active at night). They have a hard shell (exoskeleton), 10 legs and large pincers.
They’re the most spread life form on Earth, and unlike beef which consists in about 20% protein, insects can pack up to 65% – 80% pure protein. And the best part is that they’re everywhere and very easy to catch. Grassy spots are usually a great place to pick up all sorts of insects and it makes it very easy to spot them. A rotting piece of wood for example may also be a great source for a large variety of insects such as ants, beetles, termites, grubs etc. You can also scout many other places that could naturally provide shelter or nesting places for the tiny critters.
But many bugs do not come bug-free, as some of them (especially those with hard shells) will host a vast number of parasites. So if you plan on having beetles, grasshoppers or cicadas, don’t do so before cooking them. As much as they vary in shape as sizes, so do they in taste and texture. Eating them raw or cooked is one way to go, but another valid option is grinding them into a nutritious paste which you can mix with various herbs and spices, to add flavor.
The ones that you have to avoid eating are the ones that usually sting or bite. The larvae are safe to eat though, as they haven’t developed the stingers or poison glands yet. Also, if they’re hairy or brightly colored, keep away, not only by eating them but also from touching or interacting with them. Also spiders should be off-limits and all of the insects that are carriers of diseases like flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars etc.
If you ever happen find yourself in the situation of having to survive strictly on what Mother Nature provides, you’ll be just fine as you respect the basic set of written and unwritten natural rules. Just educate yourself in the matter, read up on specialized journals and articles in what’s safe to eat and what’s not and never take unnecessary risks. A wrong move might cost you your life.
By Alec Deacon