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Pemmican from Native Americans

As you might know, I've been researching how to feed ourselves based on ancient history.  Pemmican has fascinated me for years, so I looked up how to make it.  It's really no different from making a granola bar or something similar.

In a fiction tale I wrote years ago about pre-history people in the Klamath area in pre-Oregon, USA, I had my characters make pemmican often. When food was scarce as they traveled, or when they were in isolation, they would pull out their pemmican.

Hope you like it!

(Rabbit would do very well here since it is extremely lean, very little fat, if any. You could also use chicken, quail, bison, deer, etc.  Trust the source of your meat!)  Freeze very lean meat until you can slice it into very thin slices.  Dehydrate/dry at a temp just barely below 118 degrees F. until quite crispy. You can smoke it if you have a fly problem, or just make sure it's in a fine mesh/weave to keep bugs off.   Grind into a very fine powder. 

At the same time, dry/dehydrate very nutritious fruit, like blueberries, apples or cranberries, and grind these into a very fine powder. 

Mix the powdered meat and powdered fruit until well combined. 

Add in clean melted/liquid (cook and strain out any solid bits) animal fat until just enough to keep it together (I prefer bacon fat since I always have it but in the future, I may have to use something else). You could also use coconut or olive oil but this might shorten the life of the pemmican as you will need to keep a "nose out" for rancidity.

You could also add dehydrated and powdered nuts (walnut, almond, chestnut) or seeds (sunflower, flax, etc) and/or grains but these also might shorten the life of the pemmican.

Form into tiny 1-bite balls. Should hold together very well.
Spread on a tray in a thin layer. Slice into small bars and store in jars or baggies. I would separate the layers with wax paper, or clean and dry edible leaves.

Feel free to add spices or herbs. Some people make dessert versions (with nuts, real cocoa powder, a tiny bit of honey for trace nutrients, and cinnamon) and others make it more of a meal (with onion or garlic powder, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, or whatnot).

These may last weeks, months or even years.  Good to make at least once a season, or whenever you have the supplies. Make enough to tide you over until the next time you can harvest an animal and/or get all of the supplies together.

You actually can live off of this.  It's very nutritious, has fat, protein and good nutrients. Travels well because it's very light.

Also good for your dogs!


I've been watching a lot of BBC programs about real life farming in certain time periods... here are just a few (in time-period order):

Medieval/Secrets of the Castle (circa 1200s):
Tudor Monastery Farm (1485-1603):
Tales from the Green Valley (James 1st, 1620):
Victorian Farm (1837-1901):
Edwardian Farm (1901-1910 or 1912):
WarTime (after WWII) Farm:

Then I did some reading. I enjoyed as it gave great info about the medieval period diet. 

A Colonial perspective, from 1678, is found in the vid:

A look at the 1900's is at  A peek at 1940's Britain is at

See how people might have lived during the Frontier expansion in the USA, at  Post Civil-War Texas in USA (late 1800's) is at

I wanted to go back as far as possible so I started watching the Stone Age videos ( ).

What I learned is that even tho the Medieval diet might be boring, we can make do with the following:

POTTAGE (a thick soup or stew, which is NOT Porridge which is just grains/cereals and sometimes legumes boiled in milk or water):
Any kind of grain (seed of any grass, including wheat, barley, etc), can be made into a pottage or gruel.  Just crack the grain a little to make it easier to cook, and boil with water.  Can add something different each time to change the taste.  Leeks, onions, carrots, etc.  They didn't have potatoes back then, but we have them now so you could even add a potatoes or two a few times a week.  Play around with spices and herbs as they too can change the taste, making it less boring.

Note: In order to have pottage or porridge every morning, you will need to grow or buy/trade enough grain for your family for a year.

They really didn't do much soup.  That's basically what pottage is, except it's grain based.  If you choose to, you can just use potatoes to make your soup base, and add veggies.  It's up to you!

Learn how to make sourdough bread. OR learn how to "harvest" yeast from your barley or other grain crop.  OR you can learn how to make unleavened bread by just mixing flour from any grain plus water.  You can bake / cook it in a solar oven or fry like tortillas on your campfire.  Add spices, herbs, apple dices, raisins, etc to change it up from time to time.

Note: If you want bread AND porridge/pottage every day, calculate how much grain you need for your family for a year for all of that. 

Meat was somewhat hard to come by.  If you plan to make cheese, your need rennet so you'll need a suckling calf to slaughter for it's innards.  That means you need a few cows and access to a bull.  If you have room for goats or sheep, or can trade for one of those a year, then be sure to preserve most of the meat by smoking or salting it. Or making Pemmican (coming soon to this blog) or jerky.

If you live near water where there is seafood, wonderful! Back then, they made sure to eat the fish on Fridays as Medieval England was run, basically, by the Church.

You need to grow legumes: fava beans, chick peas/garbanzo beans, split peas and field peas were all staples in the Medieval diet.  Personally, I've added navy or white beans and lentils to our stores.  Be sure to change up the taste with herbs, veggies and so forth. And get used to the gas now.

If you are lucky enough to have a milking animal (goat, sheep, yak, cow), then you can make wonderful dairy products that last for months after your animal dries up.  Ricotta, cheddar, bleu and many other cheese will do well if you start practicing now.  Unbaked tiles on the floor with water thrown on them plus a decent cross-breeze from open windows will keep a room quite chilly even in the summer.  Be sure to learn how to keep things cold enough, away from rodents and other problems.

Back then they couldn't drink straight water because it was usually contaminated.  We will probably face the same situation in the future (or even now!). So what they did was make ale.  I won't go into details here but you'll need barley, some yeast, water, and time.  Usually the first batch is strong enough to get people drunk so keep that in a separate container to be brought out at night when the day's chores are done.  After the first batch is taken off the grain, add more water to the fermented grain and when it's ready, keep that in a separate container as this will be weaker for more like everyday drinking to whet your whistle.

You could also make wine or juice in varying strengths.  Making apple juice, cider and then hard cider and THEN apple cider vinegar is always a good notion.  Not exactly medieval but good now that our civilization has apples (not really available back then).

Note: You've calculated how much grain you need for pottage and/or porridge for your family for a year.  And you've done the same for bread for your family.  IF you plan on making ale, you'll need a good supply of barley.  Can you imagine how huge your grain storage area needs to be? AND it needs to be free of bugs and rodents.  AND, in case your crop fails the next year, will you store extra, grow and eat more potatoes, or beg/borrow/steal enough OR go hungry.

Just something to think about.

Even with this meager amount of food, you will need to put in a lot of hard work to keep it all going, year after year.  Plant your apple trees and grape vines now!  Get your supplies now for making wine, cider/vinegar, ale, bread and pottage, and so forth.   Check out your property for aerable land, where you can grow enough barley and wheat and potatoes to harvest enough for your family for a year.  If you are gluten-free, you can grow oats, millet, amaranth  and rice instead.

Then USE your supplies.  Start making pottage and porridge now, getting used to it as your daily meal. Start now by growing all of these things.  Experiment with recipes and write the down.  What did your family hate or just tolerate. What did they love.

Don't wait.

The time is ever coming closer to when we might need to exist on just what we can grow.


Between regular seasonal flu/influenza, the ebola virus, the entero virus and others, it’s even more important now to get your immune system up and running at maximum speed.

Here are a few things you can do:


EXERCISE: Your body needs to be working as efficiently as possible.  Make an effort to exercise at least 15 minutes a day, twice a day. Get your heart rate up.

WASH YOUR HANDS: Don’t be obsessive about it, but be sure to wash your hands with soap (NOT antibacterial) and water several times a day. As you wash, sing the happy birthday song … THAT’s how long you need to wash. Be sure to use a clean towel to dry your hands. Don’t use the hand sanitizer because that’s just creating super-bacteria.

CLEAN YOUR HOUSE AND WORKSPACE: WORK: As soon as you get into work, put on gloves and get out the chlorox wipes (or use vinegar). Wipe down your phone (ALL parts of it), your desk, writing utensils, computer keyboard , and everything else you touch.  Do it all again if someone uses your desk at lunch, or borrows something. Don’t be paranoid but do be smart. HOUSE: Keep your house clean. Wipe down all doorknobs, toilet flusher handles, sink and faucets, and every surface you can. Change the furnace or a/c filters often. Use Hepa filters if you can. Open windows for fresh air.

VISITORS: Ban ALL visitors to your home during this critical time, except those absolutely necessary. When someone, even your children, enter the house, have them wash up, keep outdoor clothing at the door, and maybe even use a mask and gloves while they are there. Be very aware of people with sniffles, headaches, sore throats, etc.

OUTINGS: You don’t really need to meet the girls for lunch out, do you?  Stock up on groceries now so you won’t need to do it later. If you absolutely want to keep some of these viruses from spreading, and IF you know there are people in your area that have tested positive for it, stay home!

IN-HOME SECLUSION: Assume that a lot of people in your area get sick. People will stop going out, not even to work. No one to repair telephone or electric lines. No one to make sure the water/sewer treatment works correctly. Water and toilets stop working. Electricity goes out so there also goes your means of heating the house, keeping food in your freezer/fridge, and cooking. Find alternatives for these situations, and make sure you have at least one to three months’ supply of these items:
-toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, baby wipes for instant baths
-chlorox wipes, bleach, other cleaners
-F95 respiration masks, nitrile gloves, flu medicine, ibuprofen
-candles, matches, liters
-2 ml heavy-duty plastic and duct tape to seal up house or a sick room
-trash bags for human waste
-flashlights, batteries (for flashlights AND games, toys, DVD player, etc)
-vitamins, supplements, herbs, essential oils, probiotics
-water (to drink, add to soups, clean home and body, and do laundry)
-soups, stews, canned fruit, canned veggies (shelf-stable)
-instant and bottled tea and coffee, juice boxes, V8
-canned ham/turkey/chicken/tuna, Vienna sausages, spam, peanut butter
-seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, chia) and nuts (almonds, brazil, pecan, walnut, hazelnut)
-candies, crackers, snacks, yogurt-covered fruit, dried berries, dark chocolate and more.
-cards, games, books, and other ways to alleviate boredom


YOGURT: Get your digestive tract in place with real yogurt with natural ingredients and sweeteners and Kefir. Most illnesses start with problems in your GI, so help it out with probiotics.

OATS/BARLEY: People who eat these regularly have fewer infections. Eat at least one serving of one of these per day.

GARLIC: Garlic has been proven to boost immunity and all around, take out the bad guys in our bodies. Take 1-2 raw cloves (or capsules) each day, and add garlic, crushed, to as many of your meals as possible. I prefer the capsules with my evening pills so I won’t be tasting it all day!

SELENIUM: This nutrient helps to clear infections from our bodies. Eat as many as possible each day. Here are a few good sources: brazil nuts, fish, poultry, sunflower seeds, shellfish, beef, lamb, goat, eggs, mushrooms, whole grains, onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, yogurt, milk, fortified cereals.

Make a yummy chicken noodle soup with whole grain noodles, organic chicken, garlic, onion, broccoli and mushrooms. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it!  Or an omelet with farm fresh eggs, mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli.

BLACK TEA: Several cups daily will get lots of antioxidants into your body.

ZINC: This enhances your T-cells and helps enhance other actions of your immune system. Sources: oysters, wheat germ, liver, seeds like pumpkin, winter squash (like pumpkin, butternut, acorn, spaghetti), summer squash (like zucchini), watermelon, beef, dark chocolate/cocoa powder, lamb, peanuts, garlic, garbanzo beans/chickpeas, mushrooms, ginger root, broccoli/cauliflower/brussells sprouts, red bell pepper (I prefer red!) and use lots of oregano.

BERRIES: Most berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. We make sure that we get a daily dose! Suggestions: elderberries, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.

HONEY: While not on most people’s list, we need to take a closer look at honey. It is one of the few foods that will NEVER spoil (unless it’s not pure honey) and is good at killing bacteria.  Great for rubbing into cuts to speed healing, so it stands to reason that having it working in your digestive system would be a good idea too! Best way to take it is in a cup of hot tea (black or green or herbal), with lemon or lime juice, and honey.


I like going to Vitamin Cottage / Natural Grocers to stock up on bulk dried vegetables, herbs, tea-fixings, and fruit. Get lots of freeze-dried berries (I get them from

Don't wait to stock up / prep until these viruses actually hit your town or nearby. Do it NOW so you will be ready to shut your doors and ride it out.

Stealth Animals

As you know, we need to move closer to town (doctors, physical therapy, etc), which  means we have to follow city rules. Limited chickens, no roosters, no turkeys or ducks, and certainly no goats.

At first, I rebelled. I can’t imagine buying milk again. Not with how much my son goes through! And I prefer goat milk, raw, from our own antibiotic- and hormone-free goats. And goat baby meat.  Turkeys and chickens producing delicious orange-yolk eggs and free-range meat.

I just can’t imagine doing without these.

But I’m getting the feeling, as I speak with zoning and planning commissions, that unless we suddenly get rich, we will not be able to have farm animals of any kind, in town.

There might be a way around it. Well, for poultry.

Quail. Maybe we can buy a big enough house with a super-large garage where we can have 50 or so quail to produce eggs and meat.  We can sell the extra eggs (just got a call last week from a customer asking about buying quail eggs) and if we hatch out eggs once every couple of months, we will have lots of replacements.

But chickens … they walk around and poop, are more personable, and keep weeds and bugs down.

Quail … have to be kept confined so no weed or bug control, and poop needs to be cleaned more often. Not much personality.

Chickens … larger eggs.  Larger meat. Processor charges $3.00 per bird to butcher.

Quail … smaller eggs so we need to have 3-5 to equal one chicken egg.  We could butcher inside our home. Meat on one quail is just enough for one person.

Chickens … outside with fresh air.

Quail … inside a garage with hopefully air from a window.

What a conundrum.

How can you stealthily raise meat / eggs for your family?

Pets vs Survival

What would happen if you need to bug out, or if you don't have enough food to feed your pet? Would you find a way to provide for them? Would you eat them?

I know, this isn't a favorite topic for anybody, but it's something you need to think about.

As much as I love my dogs, I wouldn't keep both of them. The chihuahua is too noisy and loves to dig.  The lab is my son's autism service dog-in-training, and would help to mitigate his meltdowns, so I'd keep K-Dog.  I have already begun to feed them home-grown food: chicken, veggies, and store-bought rice or oats. They don't get a lot of treats so it won't be a big deal to eliminate them. Plus, any extra animals we kill that I wouldn't be able to force my family to eat (squirrel, prairie dog, etc), I'd give to him!

We don't have any. Yet. But if we did and the cat was a good mouser, we'd keep it at home. Traveling would be a different story. Can't see myself carrying a travel-kennel with a yowling cat inside. Not when I could be carrying more food, clothing and water.

Chickens can be noisy, especially the roosters, so I'd have to slit his throat if I wanted stealth. I'd keep as many hens as possible, both of chickens and turkeys.  Turkey toms (boys) aren't noisy at all so if I can hide them, I will.  As far as quail goes, while they can be very noisy, I could hide them in a sound-proofed bedroom or garage. They are rapid producers of eggs and the fast gestation period means edible poultry in just a few weeks.  Not sure I'd want to carry a cage of quail and their feed if I need to bug out.

Generally quiet, this animals reproduces rapidly and is a great source of lean protein. Great for hiding in the house. Again, not so great for carrying around breeding stock and their feed.

These are very very hard to hide!  Not good for a stealthy source of protein or milk.

= =

What are your pets? Would you kill them before bugging out? Depends on the situation, huh? Yeah, us too. But as callous as this sounds, animals/pets can be replaced. People can't.