Author Archives: S

Making Your Own Dehydrated Cat Food

Last week I covered how to make your own dehydrated dog food. This time, I’ll cover cats as it is bit more involved due to the differences in dietary needs.
This is assuming your cat isn’t a mouser, won’t be hunting or has no claws.

Cats require a difference ratio than dogs for their food.
A basic cat food recipe would be:
3 parts meat
1 part organs (my cats particularly like liver and hearts)
1 part grain
1/2 part vegetables

Dehydrate all your ingredients until fully dry to avoid rancidity. Times will vary on your location, dehydrator and humidity. (Here’s my dehydrator)
When making dehydrated animal food, I usually dehydrate everything then powder it. Once its powdered, I measure out the ratio using a measuring cup or tablespoon depending on the container I want to fill.
Vegetables for cats can include: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and peas amongst several others, check with your vet if you are not sure.

When your mixture is complete, be sure to seal it in an airtight container (or include an oxygen absorber) and store in a cool, dry place.
When ready to serve, mix water in slowly to get the consistency your cats like.

Making Your Own Dehydrated Dog Food

When it comes to preparing, sometimes our furry friends are overlooked.

Dog food can be expensive, bulky and depending on what you feed them, it can expire quickly.

A cheap and easy way to store dog food long time is to dehydrate your own ingredients (Here is my beloved dehydrator: https://amzn.to/39aoRbO ) and mix it. When ready to serve, you add a bit of water and you’re set.

Dogs need a certain balance of nutrients in their diet but its simple to figure out the ratio.

They need about:

1 part meat

1 part grain

1 part vegetables

There are of course people that feed their dogs grain free, but that’s up to you.

When dehydrating meat, I usually make sure that its fully cooked first and then dehydrate it from there.

You can use your table scraps but make sure that you cook your meat plain, adding flavorings, salt, pepper and other things later, just to be safe.

Vegetables you could do raw or cooked, again, make sure ther’es no added butter or anything that could go rancid

if not dehydrated properly.

And as for grains, I usually use rice or oats for my dogs (as one of them has a sensitive stomach).

To make the mixture, I gather all my dehydrated ingredients and buzz them up in a food processor so it makes a fine powder. Then I measure about a cups worth of each, put it in a bowl and mix it thoroughly.

Then just add to a jar or a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber and store in a cool, dry place.

Vegetables to USE: spinach, celery, carrots, peas, green beans and sweet potatoes are all puppy favorites.

Vegetables to AVOID: avocados, onions, garlic and tomatoes have all been listed as toxic at some point to dogs, so I felt it best to add them here although I know some people who swear by giving their dogs garlic (I don’t.)

My pups also like fruits such as banana, apple, watermelon, and blueberries. I have dehydrated these separately as treats.

Next week I’ll cover our feline companions.

First Aid Supplies

First aid supplies are essential to any prepper’s stocks. The majority of preppers I know have lots of guns, ammo, food and water but barely any medical supplies. It is essential that you know the basics of first aid so you can take care of yourself and your family should something happen. During an emergency, hospitals are generally flooded with patients in varying degrees of illness and injury. It could take hours before you see a doctor and in the case of a pandemic scenario, one of the most likely places to pick up the disease is, of course, the place where all the sick people are hanging out (but if you truly need medical attention, do not hesitate to get it!)

First, I always recommend that everyone take a first aid and CPR course. These courses are generally offered by the Red Cross and other various organizations for very little money and sometimes free. They usually last a day or two and are worth every penny.

Store bought first aid kits are a great start but I like to customize mine with products I’m familiar with using, as well as rounding out some things I find missing. What you put in your kit of course depends on your medical knowledge.

Next, every household should have a bare minimum first aid kit including the following:

gauze

alcohol swabs

antiseptic

band aids

tape

non-latex gloves

tweezers

scissors

safety pins

thermal blanket (for treating shock)

triangle bandage (or large scrap of fabric)

hand sanitizer

maxi pads (can be used as a bandage)

needles and thread (fishing line or dental floss can be used in a pinch for stitches but please make sure your supplies are sterile)

basic medications (including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, anti-diarrheal, anti-nauseant, anti-emetic, etc)

This is just a basic idea of some of the things you should have around the house. Obviously, there is a lot more you can (and probably should) have but having the training to use these things can be a lot more important than the actual supplies. If you know how to treat the injuries, you can improvise the supplies.

I highly recommend having a First Aid manual on hand (paper copy), here’s an example of one I have at home: https://amzn.to/2xeieYT

Using the Tomato Harvest: Salsa!

Every year, I make my own salsa and can it. Every year I make more than the previous year and I still haven’t managed to be able to make it last over the winter. My vegetables this year in the garden did terribly, so when I saw that the grocery store had 50 lbs of tomatoes on for $10, I jumped all over that chance.

Here’s my favorite salsa recipe. I got it originally from my friend Judy (may she rest in peace) and altered it because she doesn’t add nearly enough heat for my family.

Salsa:

8 cups of Roma tomatoes (peeled and chopped)

4 cups onions, chopped

4 cups sweet peppers, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar

5 cloves garlic (or to taste)

Jalepeno pepper or to taste (I usually add a lot of jalepenos and Thai chilies but we like it really spicy)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp oregano (to taste)

1/2 tsp coriander

2-3 tbsp salt

Cook until veggies are done then add a small can of tomato paste. Cook for another
5-10 minutes then put into sterilized jars. Place your filled jars in a water bath canner and process for 20 minutes.

Home canned foods can last a long time but are usually best if consumed within a year to 18 months of canning.

Sick Boxes

Its coming up to back to school time and you know what that means. People are going to be sharing their coughs, colds and flus. Even if you don’t have kids, chances are one of your friends does, or the person behind you in line at the grocery store. The coming of fall just brings out all the fun illnesses that we get to deal with every year.

In our house, we like to be prepared for that sort of thing so we have what we call “sick boxes”. A sick box is just a kit of the typical things that you need while you are sick, all in one place, ready for the next time someone is sick without having to run to the drug store while feeling (and looking) miserable.

A typical sick box might include:

chicken soup

tissues

cough candies

cough syrup

anti-nauseant

anti-diarrheal

soda crackers

ginger ale

tea

honey

acetaminophen or ibuprofen

vitamin c/Echinacea or other herbal supplements

 

And whatever else helps you feel better without having to go get it.

A great advantage to doing up a couple sick boxes is that you can get all the supplies while they are on sale or with coupons and don’t have to pay full price or run out at 3 am when your kids are suddenly sick.

 

Preserving Corn (While We Can Afford To)

Thanks to the weather conditions all over North America, crops are failing at alarming rates, especially corn. The price of corn has sky rocketed and I can only assume will continue to do so. Corn is of course animal feed but it is also a major ingredient in just about everything we buy today. I went to the farmers market and was asked to buy corn for $5 a dozen (this of course is locally grown but not organic). Later that same week, corn was on sale at the grocery store for $2 for 10 cobs. I grabbed as much of the $2 corn as I could (it also happened to be local).

You can freeze a cob of corn as is. No prep. Don’t shuck it or cook it, just throw it in the freezer (although I usually look for bugs and give it a rinse first). To cook your frozen cobs of corn, you can cook them with the husks on (takes a bit longer) or you can husk them while frozen and just throw the frozen corn in the boiling water just like you would if it was raw. The corn is best if used before 8-12 months in the freezer.

Corn can be canned using a pressure canner. Because it is a low acid food, you cannot properly can corn in a water bath canner. Make sure you use an USDA approved corn canning recipe.

The easiest and most space effective way for me to preserve corn is of course my ever faithful dehydrator (which you can purchase here). To do this, you can cook your corn as if you were going to eat it. Once it is cool to the touch, slice the corn off the cob. Break up the little pieces of corn and spread it out on your dehydrator trays. It takes around 6 hours (or more depending on the humidity in your area) for the corn to dry. I find frozen bagged niblets of corn dehydrate a lot faster (and sometimes nicer) than your own cobs. Once it is dehydrated, you can enjoy it as is for a snack. It is sweet and crunchy (make sure you drink lots of water). You can also grind it into corn meal or corn flour. You can add it, as is, to soup or stews.

I’m personally going to do as much as I can. There has been rumor of the cost of corn going up to $9 a bushel in some areas.

Make sure to store your dehydrated corn in a cool, dry area in a airtight container.

10 cobs of corn fit into one standard sandwich bag when dehydrated

Dehydrating Citrus – and Why It’s Important

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that seems to be lacking in a lot of survival foods. Getting enough vitamin C is vital in an emergency situation. It is necessary for collagen synthesis (collagen is what heals your wounds, and knits the skin back together), without it your new wounds may not heal properly and older cuts may start to fall apart.

Enough vitamin C can cut back on how often you get colds and flus and cut back on how much they affect you. It can also delay the onset of certain neurological disorders such as Alzheimers. It is essential for drug metabolism, helping medications to reach their full potential in your system.

Sources of vitamin C include: broccoli, sweet bell peppers, sprouts, kale, spinach, tomatoes, strawberries and of course citrus fruits. Citrus can be found easily and cheaply by almost everyone and it is so simple to dehydrate.

Pick nice, firm just ripened fruits. Cut into thin wheels (1/4″) and lay on your dehydrator trays. Using a temperature controlled dehydrator, set it to 125 F. It takes about 6-8 hours depending on the humidity in your area, it could also take more. (Here’s my dehydrator: https://amzn.to/39aoRbO )

To use your citrus, you can place it in glasses of water or juice to add flavor or you can powder the inner parts to make juice mix. Make sure to store your fruit in airtight containers in a cool dry environment.

dehydrated oranges

Basic EDC

Basic EDC

An EDC, or Every Day Carry, is a kit that you take with you everywhere. It is smaller than a bug out bag and a bit more than most people usually carry. It is a good idea to carry one of these in your backpack, work bag or purse. Do not leave it in your car (I’ll cover car kits another day).

A basic EDC has enough stuff to get you home should you be stranded at work or school. You can think of it as an extended overnight bag if you will, I usually have most of this stuff in my purse.  A basic kit might include:

soap

shampoo and conditioner

toothbrush and toothpaste

a can of tuna or other high protein food

a higher carb option (as seen in the picture –ramen noodles)

chocolate or candy

hand warmers

space blanket

a way to start fire

a candle or other heat source

a flashlight or glow stick

tea, coffee or other hot drink

water

a higher sugar and energy content drink (soda or sports drink)

first aid items (the metal tin in my photo contains cotton, ibuprofen and other basic medicines)

Also included (but not seen in the picture) is some money, self-defense tools, a small notebook of basic survival information, basic maps of the city and surroundings, chap stick (which you can use as a fire starter in emergencies) and a book or set of cards in case you get stuck somewhere.

Bug Out Bags 101

A bug out bag is a bag that you keep full of supplies ready to go at a minutes notice in case of an emergency where you leave your home. It is also known as a GOOD bag (Get out of Dodge) or a 72 hour bag. There is a few different types depending on what your plan is. Be sure to use a heavy duty bag with good supports (such as a waist band and thick straps, possibly with metal framing).

A basic bug out bag contains everything you would need to survive for 72 hours away from home or as long as it would take you to get to your retreat spot, including:

shelter (such as a tent and sleeping bag, making sure to buy weather appropriate)

food (usually light weight such as dehydrated or freeze-dried and a way to cook said food ie: pot, mini camp stove or fire making implements)

water or a way to purify water (here’s a handy mini filter I keep in my purse)

First aid requirements (bandages, alcohol swabs, gloves, gauze etc)

Any medications you or your family requires

small amount of cash

hygiene needs (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, fem care etc)

self defense

It’s also a good idea to have a survival manual of some sort and a copy of any important documents (birth certificates, deeds etc which you can scan and put on a thumb drive)

Many people carry an EDC (everyday carry bag) which includes a lot of the stuff already mentioned but it is said in the prepper/survival universe: “two is one, one is none.” or as I say “rather too much than too little”. Your bug out bag should be as individual as you are. No one can tell you exactly what to put in your bag because we don’t know where you are or where you are going. I do recommend the above list as a starting point and that every family member have their own bag in case someone gets separated from the group. It is a good idea to keep your bug out bag readily accessible (in the front hall closet etc) so you always know where it is. Keep in mind this is a very basic list to get you started on thinking about what you might need. Just remember, you will have to carry this at least part of the time so make sure it doesn’t weigh you down so much that you can’t function. A good exercise is to strap on your bug out bag and go for a hike, see how far you can make it with the weight and adjust as necessary.

Prepping for Feminine Hygiene

This is a subject that I haven’t really seen a lot of information on out there so I thought I’d let you all know what I do to prepare for those fun once a month times. Men, you may want to stick around too. (Got women in your family? Need something to barter?)

A while ago, I started a non-profit organization that makes and sends reusable menstrual pads to women in need. Before sending my first package (it went to Africa), I decided I can’t very well send a product that I don’t know anything about so I tried them for myself and never looked back.

The premise is simple. Why fill your valuable shelf space with packages and packages of plastic pads and tampons that you will only use once and then throw away. (Throw away where? Now a days to the dump where your biological material can seep out into the water system- gross. Or after an emergency, well I guess you could burn or bury it). I found a simple pattern online (using an envelope style pad with an insert) and make the pads from donated sheets, pyjamas etc. When done with it, throw it in the wash (or to avoid stains, soak in cold water first).

So, we’re saving space and the environment so far (not to mention the almighty dollar!!) Find a pattern online, sew together some pads and hang on to them. Even if you don’t want to use them now (or you’re a guy, or your daughters are too young) it’s not a bad idea to have a sustainable option for when you might need it. Again, you can barter with these if you don’t need them for yourself. My non-profit runs a program where if you buy one pad, one gets donated (we also just donate anyways but its nice to have a little bit of help in the running costs).

Want to make your own? Google it! There’s plenty of free patterns out there and most people have an old flannel shirt or something they can part with.

Not crafty? You can buy reusable pads here and menstrual cups here