Archive for the ‘food’ Category

I need to learn how to fish.  Because if you teach a man to fish he can fish in the canals. I know fishing in the canals sounds disgusting, but fish make for good and cheap fertilizer, especially for corn.

Here and here is the info I have found about fishing in the canals.

Short version, you can fish pretty much all the canals except the CAP.

Cut and pasted…..

Can I fish in the canals?

Yes, unless posted “no trespassing.” Anglers must have a valid fishing license in possession for state waters (not an urban fishing license) as per ARS 17-331. Learn more about fishing regulations in Arizona by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at azgfd.gov/fish.

Below:  Not a Phoenix Canal.

Canal Milan Italy

Advertisements

I checked out the video Stay alive! a guide to survival in mountainous areas from my local library.

Random comments after watching:

  • According to the host, Preston Westmoreland, if you have ever heard the idea that you could add whiskey to water to clean the water than that is not true.  Ummmmm, I have never heard that, in fact if one googles adding whiskey to water what one discovers is that most feel this is a waste of good whiskey.
  • The video visits with Peter Bigfoot, which is awesome because I really like that guy.  Bigfoot covers the edible plants of the desert.

July is the best time to eat Saguaro fruit.

  • Peter also eats the hedgehog, he mentions it is better with salt,  hey that’s what I saidThe hedgehog cactus might be a quarter of its size in summer.
  • Some plants are poisonous for some of the year and then not poisonous for other parts of the year.  Great.
  • 90% of prickly pear plants are poisonous, yikes, only eat the fruit, that was the next plant I was going to try so I am glad I watched the video first.
  • Mesquite is the “mother tree” of the desert.  He does not elaborate on why it is the mother tree.
  • To clean water use 2 drops bleach per quart.
  • If one ever needs to make a fire to signal for help while stranded in the desert, the black tubing in your engine makes for good black smoke.
  • Thank god tube socks are out of fashion.

This last weekend I took the Complete Survivor Class from Ancient Pathways.  I picked up a whole series of skills to practice. Notice I said “practice” because, good lord, just cause I did these things once doesn’t mean I am actually competent at any of them.   We set traps, snares, tracked, snacked on plants, made jerky and stared at a whole lot of poop.

The class had many manly men and two lovely ladies.  I think it is fair to say that I was generally the least competent at just about everything.  Except for smoking bowls, this I was good at, and by smoking bowls, I mean making a bowl out of fire.

ancientpathways 082

One of the first things we learned that weekend was to whittle out a spoon. Which was handy as I had forgotten to bring a spoon, and only had a fork and knife. My spoon was incompetent. I routinely watched, for the rest of the weekend, as people whittled out far superior spoons and then pitch them in the fire.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the weekend.  First, I wasn’t sure if I was in the sort of shape to survive such a thing.  Second it snowed the night before in Flagstaff.  I was not expecting snow in mid-May in Arizona.

ancientpathways 001

This had me concerned.  In assessing my clothes the first cold morning of the class I realized if the cold held I would not be able to stay warm without looking perfectly ridiculous.  First rule of survival is PMA (Postive Mental Attitude) which is hard to do when one doesn’t look good while doing it.  O.K., maybe the first rule is only the PMA part and I just added the looking good part.

The warmest thing I had was a thick wool poncho that I had bought years before in Mexico.  I was planning on using it for a blanket.  I have only worn it on stage for comedic relief,  and I am sure the ex-military men would have met it with scoff.    Luckily for me, things warmed up.

The first thing after setting up our tests was a walking tour of the property.   Tony Nester, our instructor, pointed out the various rat and mice nests around.  Of course, I had set my tent up right beside a big pack-rat’s nest.   Once he pointed it out, it was bluntly obvious.  I never moved my tent.  I figured if I had gophers in Phoenix, I could share space with a pack-rat.

Below:  My tent and pack-rat nest.

ancientpathways 005

The weekend was simply packed with new knowledge and things worth mulling over.   Here are all the shots from the weekend. As I reflect on lessons learned and go over my half-filled notebook, I will be making a series of posts about this weekend.

I been reading Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon and frankly it just overwhelms me. 

After reading the watering section I am not sure if he is telling me to water more or water less.  I suppose one needs a little bit of a mathematical mind to follow his recommendations,  maybe having a mathematical mind is part of  a green thumb?     I wasn’t sure what he was talking about in the watering section, much less the composting or fertigation sections.

I believe my soil in Phoenix is Clay, and he doesn’t seem to think it is worth growing in clay.  This makes me sad.  The reviews on Amazon.com for the book are mixed, some feel as I do, while others strongly recommend reading the book a second time in order to get everything to sink in. 

I did like the idea of making a compost-tea and then use a drip method on the plants.   That might be a good project for the weekend.

Below: A less-than succesful experiment of using an old pallet to make a slightly raised bed.

gunsandgardens 023

One of the rules or expressions among the preppers is “eat what you store and store what you eat.”  Another sentiment is “practice is better than just reading,” which I totally agree with.  With those two sentiments in mind the Survival Mom is challenging her readers this month to cook rice and beans seven days in a row.

So, I bought some dried black beans (instead of the canned ones) to see what I could do with them.  I soaked them for three and a half days, instead of overnight, because I read somewhere that will help cut down on the cooking time, which will be helpful when wood is scarce.   I did replace the water they were soaking in every day.  The water would be dyed a little less black with each replacement of water.

Soaking them so long led to a funky smell, and some scum-like stuff floating on the top of the water.  I am not sure if this would make them unsafe to eat.    An internet search gives a unclonclusive answer.

Some say that I have fermented the beans and this is good, because it makes it easier to digest the nutrients while others say that I should throw them out.

I ate them.  They tasted very bland.

Lesson learned: Stockpile spices for the apocalypse.  Because who doesn’t like a little flavor once life has become dreary!

One of the sacred rules of the preppers is “Store what you eat, eat what you store.”  My fridge is currently empty on purpose.  I am going to see if I can buy exactly what would last me two weeks.  In two weeks I go to New York City (NYC) for four days and two days in Pennsylvania (PA).  I wonder how close I can time exactly two weeks of food.

On a side note, NYC is seen by most of the preppers, survivalists, naturalists, and hollywoodites as the worst place to be during the Apocalypse.  I am visiting my brother and his wife so I hope that the doomsayers are all wrong. Some may argue I have joined the doomsayers by my actions.   I hope my work is in vain (not really, I like having a garden and the forced domestication.)  In short, some might say I hope I am wrong.

I do.   It’s funny.  Spending so much energy on something you hope doesn’t happen.  It hints at unfulfilled frustration and laughing at yourself.  I suppose that is what attracts me to thinking about the end of the world as we know it.  I like dark humor.  Laughing at life while life ends just seems funny.  This is probably why we are attracted to the Joker.  And by “we” I mean me.

Below:  Photo taken during my last visit to NYC to see my brother.   We went to one of only two shooting galleries in the city for his bachelor party.

IMG_0043

FebRandom 027

Above:  A recent shot taken of the hedgehog.

The hedgehog cactus I ate about a month ago seems to be doing fine.  However, several people have told me the cactus I ate had yellow needles not because it was the wrong cactus, but because I ate one covered in coyote pee.