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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Canned Salmon Fishcakes.

This is a good stand by meal. One of my favourites.

1 large can pink or red salmon. (400g)
1.lb mashed potato.
2 eggs
chopped parsley
salt and pepper
handful flour
handful coarse matzo meal or breadcrumbs

Drain salmon and remove any skin and bones. Roughly flake.
Mix Salmon, potato, parsley, 1 beaten egg, and season with salt and pepper if desired(I find that only pepper is needed).
Form the mixture into patties and dip into flour, then beaten egg, then matzo meal or breadcrumbs.
Refridgerate for a couple of hours to firm up.
Fry gently in oil till golden brown.
Serve with veg or salad of choice and enjoy!

I've also used Pilchards, Sardines and canned Kippers. The Pilchard and Sardine were OK, the kippers were great!
They also freeze well.

Dirty Bombs

[A] radioactive "dirty bomb" (...) spreads radioactive material that is highly toxic to humans and can cause mass death and injury. - Attorney General John Ashcroft, 2002
An analysis on Stratfor.com downplays the danger of Dirty Bombs. These types of bombs use common explosives to spread radioactive materials (hence ‘dirty’). There is no nuclear reaction, no mushroom cloud, just a normal explosion that coats an area with radioactive dust. Since they are much easier to build than an atom bomb, and radioactive byproducts are easier to acquire, there reasonable concern that terrorists will someday use dirty bombs.
The common media portrayal of dirty bombs is that they will “immediately cause hundreds or even thousands of deaths.” Not true, says Stratfor. A dirty bomb is not a “weapon of mass destruction” but rather a weapon of mass “disruption”. Immediate deaths would result from the explosion itself and the resulting panic when the bomb is found to be “dirty”. The dirty effects of the radioactivity are longer term and most people will be safely decontaminated (eventually).
The real problem is economic and psychological. Since anyone living or working in a radioactive area will sicken and die over days/weeks/years, the area must be cordoned off and abandoned until cleaned. A total cleanup will require relocating everyone, tearing down the buildings, streets, sidewalks, and scraping the soil. Not at all cheap if the area is downtown NY, London or DC. And not nice if the target is something historical and irreplaceable.
To back up their analysis downplaying the danger, Stratfor looks at the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine. This was bigger than any possible dirty bomb and in fact more than one hundred times the radiation of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The Chernobyl explosion killed 31 persons in the immediate aftermath. Over several decades it may contribute to the deaths of 9,000 people from radiation poisoning. But many of those affected by the radiation are still alive more than 20 years after the accident. Today, 5.5 million people live in the contaminated zone.
Fortunately for civilization, it’s not easy to use radiation as a mass weapon. Yes, a concentrated radioactive substance can kill individuals quickly with direct exposure – but such items are rare and quantities small. With dirty bombs the radiation is spread far and wide by the explosion; maximizing the number of people impacted but weakening the lethality.
Bottom Line
What should you do if you are a victim of a dirty bomb?
  • Don’t panic!
  • The CDC recommends sheltering inside a building with intact walls. If you’re outside, cover your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in the radioactive dust (VERY IMPORTANT), avoid touching anything, and get inside the nearest walled shelter quickly. While outside, clothing is an effective shield against energetic alpha particles but if you breath those same particles in – damage will be done.
  • If inside a damaged building, move to an undamaged interior room.
  • When you come in from outside, remove your shoes and outer clothing at the door. Up to 90% of the radioactive dust on you is on your clothes. Don’t spread it around your shelter. If possible seal your clothes, shoes, and breathing cloth/mask it in a plastic bag or other disposable storage. You don’t want to be near these clothes afterwards (or ever again).
  • Shut all windows, outside doors, and fireplace dampers. Turn off fans and heating and air-conditioning systems that bring in air from the outside. It is not necessary to put duct tape or plastic around doors or windows.
  • If outside or exposed, shower or wash ALL exposed skin with soap and water to remove any remaining dust. Be sure to wash your hair. Don’t put contaminated clothes back on. Don’t forget that your washing area may now be slightly radioactive from the rinsed off dust. Initially the washing water should be safe – water inside pipes at the time of the explosion is protected. But over time as water is used, you’ll be drawing from lakes and reservoirs that may have been exposed.
  • Cover any open wounds to keep radioactive dust out of your blood stream.
  • If you’re at home and have pets outside, get them indoors and wash them completely.
  • Tune to the local radio or television news for more instructions.
  • Don’t go outside until instructed to by authorities. When leaving your temporary shelter, cover up 100% with clean clothes/coat/blanket. You’ll need new shoes or a substitute. You’ll repeat the process of disposing the outer clothing layers and washing when you return to a shelter.
  • Do not attempt to rescue your children at their school. They should be safe in a school shelter. You endanger yourself by traveling and contaminate the school shelter by demanding entrance or even opening the door.
  • Don’t eat or drink from anything that was open and possibly contaminated by dust. Sealed food is ok but be sure to wash the outside container first. Avoid drinking public faucet water until authorities say it is safe. You don’t want to allow anything radioactive inside your body.
  • If all goes well, your exposure will be no worse than an intensive medical X-ray and there will be no symptoms. However if you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling and redness of the skin then you were exposed to a higher level of radiation and need medical attention ASAP.
CDC Public Service Announcements for a Dirty Bomb
(what you hope to never hear on your radio)
Nuclear War Survival Skills by Kresson H Kearny.

Some Tips and Tricks on Raising Meat Rabbits, by Christine W.

Food production is the most important skill in survival. Without sufficient food you’re sunk. You won’t have the energy to protect yourself or your supplies, you won’t be able to get firewood to keep warm, or water to stay hydrated. So yes, you can live for weeks without food, but only if other people are there to take care of you and they have enough food! And meat is one of the best energy foods. Unfortunately most meat production is a high feed/time endeavor. It takes a lot of feed and time to get that cow to butcher size. Two years from birth to butcher if you’re looking at optimum growth. Plus a cow standing out in a field is going to draw attention, even if you live in the boonies. That’s why rabbits are such a good survival idea. They are very low profile, quiet, easy to raise, healthy, easy to feed, reproduce quickly, and reach butcher size in 10 to 12 weeks. No other livestock animal has a better feed to weight ratio. Meaning it takes less feed to get your rabbits to butcher size than any other meat animal. There are some great rabbit raising books out there with the standard information, but some info is only learned by experience. These are tricks about rabbit raising that we had to learn the hard way through trial and error, or was passed on to us by other rabbit raisers. So if you are a rabbit raiser or just starting a rabbit journey I hope this helps!

Do not use straw in rabbit cages. If mice have been in the straw their feces and urine can carry infections that will spread to your rabbits. We had this happen! Old newspapers, clean grass hay, or dry wood shavings are the safest.

Wood Shavings as litter: I would only recommend putting litter like wood shavings, clean grass hay, or newspaper in cages for pregnant females for their nesting box. But wood shavings have a drawback. The dust can get in the babies eyes causing eye problems. We had this happen too! Mother rabbits should make their nest out of fur they pull off themselves, more on that later.

Clean litter trays frequently, at least once a week. Rabbit urine is high in ammonia and can cause health problems for your rabbits if left to accumulate. Keep your rabbits in a well-ventilated area. Rabbit droppings make excellent compost!

Give your rabbit a piece of natural wood to chew; they really like apple wood branches. This helps keep their teeth from growing too long.
Always put an untreated piece of board in the cage for your rabbit to sit on. Meat breeds are heavy and the pressure can cause sores called hutch sores to form on the bottoms of the feet.
If hutch sores occur build an outside run for your rabbit. Cover on the top with wire or wood but not the bottom. Let the rabbit run on ground until the sores are healed. Letting the problem go can cause feet problems or even death!

We use wire stackable cages with wire bottoms with trays underneath each rabbit to catch the urine and feces. We use wood shavings in the trays to absorb the urine and keep the smell down. It works much better than newspaper or straw. Stackable cages take up less space, are easy to clean, and make rabbit chores go faster. They are also easier to keep in a secure location like a garage or basement. Worth the price in my opinion.
Empty aluminum soda pop cans are fun and safe toys for rabbits to play with. Rabbits get bored too and can start destructive behavior! But be careful, a few rabbits will actually bite through the metal. If you have one of these then take the can out and try something else.
Always provide a mineral salt lick for rabbit health. Make sure its “mineral” not plain salt. And stock up, they are cheap right now, but may be unavailable later.
Keep rabbit food secure from mice. They carry diseases!
Give pregnant and nursing females oats (about ¼ cup per day), they love it and it helps build up fat stores for good baby production. Also give to babies to fatten them up for dinner!

Kindling/Baby Problems
This is the most problematic aspect of rabbits. You will devote more time to kindling (rabbit birth and newborn babies) than anything else in rabbit care. While rabbits are easier to breed and raise than chickens in my opinion, that is only true with a good experienced doe (female rabbit). If you have good mom, baby care on your part is non-existent. Here are some hard learned tricks to problems.
Do not use wood shavings in kindling (birth) box! Give the doe newspaper or clean grass hay if it seems like she is not pulling fur good enough. Putting grass hay and newspaper in may also stimulate her to start building a nest. Do this about a week before kindling (birth).

First Time Mothers
Almost everyone you talk to and every book you read will say that first time mothers will always loose the first litter of babies. And frankly this is pretty true. But I have noticed that it is usually due to the mother not making a good enough nest and the babies getting chilled as they are born furless. Also the mother almost never gives the first really good feeding that is necessary after birth, causing the kits to be weak. Put those two together and you have dead babies! So here are ways I have solved this problem. Works in other situations too.
Chilled babies: So you go out and find babies chilled and close to death. Or maybe you think they are dead. Hold on! Unless the baby is actually frozen to the wire they may be just barely still alive. Get them inside and if they are hardly moving submerge them up to their neck in warm (not hot!) water. Be careful to not get the head wet. I have had babies that were so still it took this measure to show me they were alive. And like a miracle they came back. Now after they are moving pretty well take them out and gently rub them with a warm dry cloth, being careful of the umbilical cord area. Once dry put them in a box with a heating pad covered with a folded towel or hot water bottles to keep them nice and warm.

Weakness due to lack of milk
If momma didn’t feed them right after birth your going to have weak babies who will be unable to nurse the next time, or if momma rejected them and you need to put them on a surrogate mother (more on surrogates later) the babies will need enough energy to nurse once put back with a mom. Here is what I do and it usually works. Make a warm sugar water solution 2 parts water to 1 part table sugar. Put in an eyedropper and put in warmed babies mouth. Do not give to a chilled baby! Wait until you warm it up. Give only one drop of sugar water at a time; it is horribly easy to drown these babies! After two drops stop. With any more you risk drowning the baby. You should see them swallowing while feeding, don’t force it. You will see these babies start moving around making noises and looking for food as energy increases. Now you know they are ready to be given back to mom or surrogate mom. If you fear it’s too cold outside bring mom to the babies inside to feed them. Mother rabbits only feed babies once a day. Some moms won’t feed under these conditions and then your going to have to try taking babies out to mom twice a day and bringing them inside until they get fur. Or to solve this problem keep your rabbits in a rabbit barn with heat available, or only breed in warm weather.
Insufficient Nest: Mother rabbits should pull out their fur to make a nice warm nest, but first timers almost always do a bad job. If this happens you’ll have to do it for her. After birth (if you do this while mom is still pregnant you can kill the babies inside her due to her struggling) take mom out and gently pull fur from her tummy and sides. It will come out easy due to hormones and reveal her nipples to babies. Shove all this fur into a nice nest shape and make a hollow with your fist. Put babies in and cover with fur. Now put mom in and watch closely. If she tries to reject them you will know because they will start screaming as she hurts them. Get them out! Now you have a problem. Hopefully you can find a surrogate mom.

Surrogate moms: I always breed more than one rabbit at the same time, that way if one mom rejects or has too many babies to support you can give them to another mom. Most rabbits can only support about 8 to ten babies at one time. And if you are breeding meat rabbits your going to have big litters. If different litters are born too far apart it is harder to get the surrogate to accept them. So breed together. Here is how to get a surrogate to accept different babies. In the morning (not night) take the babies and put them in the new nest. Cover well with moms fur so they will smell like the other babies, you can also rub vanilla extract on moms nose to help mask the scent. Now watch mom closely, if she rejects you will know. Check the babies a few times first day, trying not to upset mom. The more you mess with a new mom the more likely she is to kill her babies.

As I have said meat rabbits have big litters so your other moms may not have room to take more babies. What then? Well, you can keep another smaller breed of rabbit just for surrogating. The smaller lops make excellent moms. We always bred our pet Holland at the same time as the meat rabbits. Smaller rabbits generally have smaller litters, but can still support up to eight babies. Our Holland was a rock! She accepted anything and always took great care of her litters. Also bonus, you can tell whose babies are who’s. This is important for future breeding purposes. If all babies look alike then you will not be able to tell which babies came from which moms for future breeding.

Buck Problems
Most bucks (male rabbits) have no problems except one. Due to living in a small cage they have very little staying power when it comes to breeding. So when you are trying to breed a male to a female he gets tired very quickly. The solution is to give your buck an open space or rabbit run to live on. His muscles will be stronger and he will breed better as a result. Just make sure it is secure from dogs and predators!
Predator problems - Animal and Human
Rabbits are a prey animal for pretty much anything bigger than a squirrel. So securing your rabbits is a major concern. The biggest predators Pre-SHTF are neighborhood dogs. They get really excited when they see a rabbit and kill mode kicks in! Even a Yorkie could kill your rabbits simply by jumping at them and barking. Rabbits aren’t the cleverest of creatures and panic easily. When they get really scared they will run circles in their cages and jump up sometimes breaking their own backs! Any rabbit not in a secure cage is a sitting duck for owls, dogs, cats, hawks, raccoons, skunks, badgers, possums, and mean kids! And that is just in town! So my advice is put your rabbits in a rabbit barn. This can be a humble shed, garage, or basement. This will become even more important in a SHTF situation. You will not want people [outside your family] knowing that you have meat available.

Heat - The Silent Rabbit Killer
The most tragic thing to come home to is a barn full of heatstroke-killed rabbits. Rabbits can die of heat stroke in 80 degree Fahrenheit weather. That’s it! They are covered in nice warm fur, which is great in cold weather, but not in the heat. Here are the ways to avoid heat death:
1. Shade! Never, ever, put your rabbit hutch in direct sun in warm weather, or they will die! Put your hutches or cages in the shade of a building or tree.
2. Always provide frozen water bottles for your rabbit to lie on in the heat. I like big 2 liter ones for our meat rabbits because they last most of the day. Keep one in the cage while the other one is in the freezer refreezing.
2. Always provide lots of water in the heat. Use water bottle feeders so the rabbits can’t defecate in them or spill them.
3. In really hot weather 90 or above soak the hutch roof and sides in water from a hose several times a day to cool it down.
4. If you notice your rabbits panting take action immediately, your rabbits are in heat stroke! Mist your rabbits with the hose and put frozen water or pop bottles in the cage with them. Monitor to make sure they are cooling down.
5. If a rabbit is laying still in the cage and won’t wake or is sluggish but still breathing it is now in a coma from heat. Get it out and submerge in a bucket of cold water up to the neck. It should revive if not too far gone.

Rabbits are an easy animal to raise once you get the cages and feeders, and much of that you can make yourself. They are also perfect for kids to care for, as they are small, cute, and generally non-aggressive. The worst you will get from a rabbit is a bad scratch. A cow or a pig however, could easily kill or injure your eight to ten-year-old child.

If you had 5 to 10 does breeding every two months you would have a good meat supply for the year. Another major advantage is that you can butcher for daily needs. If you butcher a hog or cow you have to process, pickle, salt, or freeze hundreds of pounds of meat all at once. It’s a tricky business to do safely. With rabbits you have no possibility of spoilage and a nice pelt of fur to turn into clothing. We have seen interest in our rabbits triple in the past months. So much so that I have run out of breeders to sell. This is something that has never happened to me before! People are waking up and looking for ways to ensure food safety. If you are looking to buy breeding stock then make sure they are young (under a year of age) or proven to be fertile, and buy from a good breeder who knows about proper care and feeding. Good Luck!
Toilet paperImage via Wikipedia

Poop Tips

my post from APN's Shelter forum:

In disaster situations, plumbing may not be usable due to broken sewer or water lines, flooding, or freezing of the system. To avoid the spread of disease, it is critical that human waste be handled in a sanitary manner!

Did you know…
…one gram (0.035 oz) of human feces can contain 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, and 100 parasite eggs!?

If toilet okay but lines are not…
If water or sewer lines are damaged but toilet is still intact, you should line the toilet bowl with a plastic bag to collect waste… but DO NOT flush the toilet!! After use, add a small amount of disinfectant to bag, remove and seal bag (with a twist tie if reusing), and place bag in a tightly covered container away from people to reduce smell.

If toilet is unusable…
If toilet is destroyed, a plastic bag in a bucket may be substituted. (Some companies make plastic buckets with a seat and/or snap-on lid.) You could also use the toilet seat from a commode and lay it on top of a bucket for a more comfortable experience. (Tip: separate lid from seat and set aside so you can lay seat on it when changing out bag.) After use, add a small amount of disinfectant to the bag, and seal or cover bucket.

Disinfectants - easy and effective for home use in Sanitation of Human Waste.

Chlorine Bleach - If water is available, a solution of 1 part liquid household bleach to 10 parts water is best. DO NOT use dry bleach since it can burn you, corrode or dissolve things so not safe for this kind of use.

Calcium hypochlorite - (e.g. HTH, etc.) Available in swimming pool supply or hardware stores and several large discount stores. It can be used in solution by mixing, then storing. Follow directions on the package.

Portable toilet chemicals - These come in both liquid and dry formulas and are available at recreational vehicle (RV) supply stores. Use according to package directions. These chemicals are designed especially for toilets that are not connected to sewer lines.

Powdered, chlorinated lime - Available at some building supply stores. It can be used dry and be sure to get chlorinated lime - not quick lime.

Some other alternatives are kitty litter, sawdust, etc. There are also several types of camping toilets and portable toilets that range from fairly low dollars to hundreds of dollars.

Make sure toilet is near the air-exhaust end of the shelter and keep it tightly covered when not in use. Cover with a plastic bag too to keep bugs out and help reduce smell a bit. And consider hanging a sheet or blanket in toilet area for some privacy, if possible.

Also (if possible) consider digging a waste-disposal pit about 3 feet downwind from shelter if hunkered down for weeks. (Note, if sheltering during a nuclear event, esp if fallout surrounding shelter, do NOT expose yourself to lethal radiation by digging holes to bury waste. Just pile bags several feet away from shelter and decontaminate yourself before reentering shelter.)

Puking will also be an issue. Nerves, anxiety, a change in diet, and the sight and smell of puke and poop may make others throw up. (And if a nuke event, radiation sickness can cause puking and diarrhea.) Plastic bags, placed throughout a shelter, are the best means to catch puke and keep it off the floor. Buckets, pots, or a newspaper folded into a cone also work.

Germs and diseases can create major problems and illness in confined quarters so try to reduce the spread of germs and infectious diseases

- Wash hands often using soap and water or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol in it) to reduce the spread of germs. But keep in mind sanitizers don’t work against some bugs so it’s best to wash up, if possible.
- Try to avoid exposure to others’ bodily fluids like blood, pee, poop, spittle, etc.
- Sick people should cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often, and wear a face mask around others (if very ill).
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until healed.
- Clean counters, doorknobs, fixtures, linens, etc. often with a bleach solution.
- If possible, don’t share silverware, razors, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.

Some sanitation items for shelters…
- Disinfectant for human waste (see above)
- Bottles of household chlorine bleach (regular scent)
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste or baking soda, brush, comb, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, etc.)
- Plastic garbage bags with twist ties and small plastic grocery bags
- Plastic bucket with tight lid (several would be wise)
- Soap, liquid detergent, hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), moist towelettes or sanitizing wipes, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
- Toilet paper and baby wipes
- Paper towels, dish towels, rags, etc.
- Feminine supplies (tampons, pads, etc.)
- Diapers (infant, toddler and adult sizes if needed)
- Disposable gloves
- Wash cloths, hand and bath towels
- Small shovel

Some first aid items to consider for sanitation...
- Bentonite clay
- activated charcoal
- antacids
- anti-diarrhea meds
- laxatives
- diatomaceous earth
- MMS (for parasites, etc)
- a slew of vi-tees & herbs (esp immune stimulator types), etc
- hydrocortisone cream, he-mee ointment, diaper rash cream, etc

(Most of above extracted from our IT’S A DISASTER! book. Proceeds benefit APN.)

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Lighten Up Your Load With a Mini-Survival Kit

It is safe to say that disasters can happen when we least expect them to.  So what is the use of having all the cool survival gadgets, if you only use them on the camping excursions?  Experts say you will not have an adequate understanding of how to use your gear, and could get hurt in the process if you do not regularly use your survival gear.  That being said, there are certain survival essentials, suggested by the Boy Scouts that I have on me at all times.  Having these items on hand, brings peace of mind and assists me in every day functions.  Carrying a mini-survival kit can be achieved without weighing a person down.  In fact, in my case, it lightened up some of the load that I regularly carried around. 
Leon Pantenburg agrees with this idea of carrying around survival gear.  In a recent article he wrote for American Preppers Network, he states: 
As I type this, I have a butane lighter in my pocket, a whistle, knife, fingernail clippers, LED flashlight, small knife and magnesium stick on my belt clip, and a Swiss Army knife in my belt pouch. My wallet hasfire starter, char cloth and a signal mirror in it. This gear goes with me everywhere it’s legal…If I have to sprint for the door and can’t grab anything else, I have the minimum tools on me to make a fire and stay warm and signal for help…If I can grab my jacket on the way out the door, there is an Altoids tin mini-survival kit in the pocket. And if I can get to my car there is a full component of survival gear in there, including food, water, a sleeping bag, and several tarps. I won’t waste any time looking for equipment, when the walls may literally be falling down around me.   

Find the right pack that will fit the gear you need. 

Since I have a larger family, I have to tote around more gear.  I have finally come to the conclusion not to sacrifice functionality for fashion.  If a person decides to carry a “carry all,” pack, Altoids tin or a purse, you must not look at fashion as being an important aspect of your decision making prodess.  Just like with any pack, the weight is so important.  If you are lugging around a heavy purse or heavy pack, in the long run, it’s going to be exhausting.  That is what I hated about my previous purses, they were so incredibly heavy.  Additionally, your pack should be durable and reliable through all seasons.  My day pack is 13 ounces and can hold 800 cubic inches of survival gear. It has hidden compartments, and essential pockets to help me organize my supplies. 

The Survival Essentials

But a survival kit can be made so that it can fit into one’s pockets.  Additionally, many of these items are extremely light weight, and will not weigh a person down.  All one needs are the survival essentials.  Leon Pantenburg provides a great list of survival essentials that one should carry:
Keep basic tools with you at all times. On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other knife rides in a pouch on my belt. 
Carry survival gear in your wallet. I always have (from left) firestarter, charcloth and a signal mirror with me.
According to the Boy Scouts, they suggest 10 essentials items necessary to survive in the outdoors:
  • Knife
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Clothing
  • Rain Gear
  • Water Bottle
  • Flashlight or Headlamp
  • Trail Food
  • Matches/Firestarter
  • Sun Protection
  • Map and Compass
These essential items, I have placed in my daypack which goes everywhere I go.  Additionally, we have more gear in our BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) in case we are stranded.  It is always a good rule of thumb to be overly prepared rather than under prepared for a situation.  Now that I am carrying my gear around, I am using it more often and feel more capable of getting to safety just by having it on me.