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Little Bit of Meat into a Big Meal

Squirrel vegetable soup. Yum.
Squirrel vegetable soup. Yum.

Squirrel season opened here on Sept. 15.  Matt went hunting for squirrels the next day.  He took aim at one of the furry critters, switching to an open choke.  Only he didn’t.  He switched to a full choke.  After he heard the resounding “boom,” he realized his mistake.. He cringed, seeing that the squirrel landed 15 ft away behind the tree.  This is going to be bad, he thought.  He was right.

Being the ethical hunter that he is, he brought the decimated remains home to salvage what he could.  It wasn’t much, all things considered.  Basically, the bottom half was the only part he could save.

You ever seen a squirrel?  They’re little things.  A half a squirrel is smaller still.  What in the heck am I going to do with a half a squirrel, I thought to myself.

This afternoon, I put it in a pot of water and let it simmer a long time.  It tenderized the meat, making it easy pickings and created a broth.  If you’ve never had squirrel, I’ll let you in on a secret: it tastes similarly to chicken.  A nutty chicken, if you will.  I know the ubiquitous joke is that every meat tastes like chicken, but squirrels actually do.

At any rate, I was torn between a stir fried rice and soup.  I finally settled on a soup.  After simmering the piece all afternoon, I fished it out, let it cool, and picked off the meat.  I put it back in the pot, adding slices of carrots and celery, along with plenty of garlic.  I simmered until the vegetables were soft, then added corn and egg noodles.  Instead of noodles, I had wanted to have potatoes, but I found my bag of potatoes had been reduced to a moldy saggy sack of yuck.

Once the noodles were al dente, I removed from the stove and served.  I find that if you remove the soup before the noodles are totally cooked, the noodles don’t disintegrate as leftovers.

You wouldn’t believe it, but that little bit of squirrel ended up making a rather large pot of soup.  If I want to stretch it further, I would add a can of peas or some green beans.  Corn bread, biscuits, crackers or even just plain bread with butter make an excellent accompaniment.  That soup will feed our family of four for dinner and lunch, providing I make sandwiches to go with it at lunch time.

Remember, if you’re trying to stretch your budget or the food you already have in the house, soup is a great way to do it.

A Few Reasons to Prep (Plus the winners announcement)

The term “prepper” evokes images of wild  eyed wanna be commandos in fatigues with guns slung over their shoulders, muttering about the government takeover perpetrated by a secret society.  While there’s nothing wrong with holding these beliefs (I entertain them myself from time to time), that pervasive image turns off many people from emergency preparedness.  This is a huge problem because emergencies can happen at any time, without warning, and don’t have to be of epically catastrophic proportions.  Everyone needs to have some sort of back up plan because s8&^ happens, even it doesn’t hit the fan. And it ranges from the personal to events on a global level.

Job loss-  The economy being what it is, job loss is not an uncommon event.  If you have a stocked pantry, you will have one less bill to worry about.  Speaking from experience, I can tell you it will be a blessing to be able to feed your family regardless of whether you have a regular pay check.  In 2013, I was maneuvered into resigning my position teaching.  (It’s a long, dastardly story that I won’t share right now).  My teaching salary had been a major portion of our income.  Matt had his tree business and hoped to pick up the slack.  Unfortunately, his partner left the business, taking the chipper with him, limiting the jobs Matt could do.  Then, the economy took another hit, and the calls quit coming.  During this period, cash became more and more scarce.  However, all we had to do for food was go to our huge pantry downstairs or one of the freezers.  We had more than enough to see us through.  If we hadn’t had that stockpile, I’m not sure what we would have done.

Loss of a spouse-  This event is far more unsettling to consider, but it must be done.  If you are part of a couple who depends on two incomes, you need to think about what you might do if they passed away suddenly.  If you have food stockpiled, you wouldn’t have to worry about a grocery bill.  Moreover, you wouldn’t have to drag yourself into the public, grocery shopping, when you should really be at home, taking care of yourself and children if you have any.

storm

Natural disaster- As many of us watched, during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, people were grossly unprepared for living without electricity.  Potable water became a precious commodity as the emergency progressed.  If you live on the east coast, hurricanes are a very real threat, but other parts of the country have their own natural disasters.  Considering they are difficult to predict and often strike without warning, it is best to keep supplies on hand at all times.

Governmental collapse- I hesitated to put this reason in here, since it sounds so crazy.  However, if you have been paying attention to places like Greece and Valenzuela, it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility.  Okay, some of you may think my crazy is showing, and maybe it is, but I”d rather throw this out there than not. Better for you to have supplies and me be wrong, than the other way around.

This list is just a few reasons to start your own stockpile of supplies.  You can start small and work your way up, but just get started.  It’s better to be proactive and feel like you’re doing something rather than feel helpless later.

Giveaway

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the winner of our newsletter drawing.  In a very scientifically random fashion, we put all the names on a slip of paper and put them in a pickle jar.

Our very scientific method
Our very scientific method

When we went to draw a name for the 72 hour kit from Patriot Pantry, the boys fought over who got to draw.  In order to keep the peace, we decided to add a bonus drawing.  The grand prize winner will get the 72 hour kit while the runner up will win some homemade soaps.  And the winners are…. drumroll please…..

For the homemade soap:

Dan Shortridge! You've won two bars of our homemade soap!
Dan Shortridge! You’ve won two bars of our homemade soap!

And the 72 hour kit goes to…..

Marie Miller, you're the winner of the 72 hour kit.
Marie Miller, you’re the winner of the 72 hour kit.

 

Congratulations to our winners.  If you’d like to be qualified to win occasional giveaways and other goodies, sign up to be on our newsletter.

Join our list. We’d never sell your address. Scout’s honor. (Matt used to be a Boyscout, so that’s totally legit.)

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