Roadkill Cuisine – Eating Roadkill When Nothing Else Is Available

There are plenty of good reasons to pick up roadkill from the streets whenever possible. From a moral standpoint, it’s just not right to let an animal die for no reason and leave it to decay on the road when there are people in our country going hungry every night.

Looking at it economically, it can save you a lot of money to add roadkill meat to your diet alongside store-bought meat. It’s also a chance to overcome any food aversions you might have and try out some wild game you wouldn’t have had the chance to taste otherwise.

In any case, eating roadkill isn’t as taboo as some people in society make it out to be. Remember what your mother used to say, “Try it; you might like it!” Harvesting roadkill generally involves four steps: finding the roadkill, checking if it’s safe to eat, processing the meat by removing the skin, organs, and guts, and finally, cooking it right away or freezing it for later use.

Locating your next meal

Finding roadkill in America is actually quite easy. It’s a sad reality that each year, a staggering number of animals, approximately 360 million according to various Humane Society estimates, are killed by vehicles on the extensive network of highways and roads in the country. Another report from the Federal Highway Administration in 2008 estimated that one to two million large animals meet their end on our roads annually. These numbers highlight the significant impact of road accidents on wildlife.

As you travel, if you remain observant, you won’t have to search far to come across an animal that has lost its life on or near a roadway. Unfortunately, the issue of roadkill is prevalent and has an impact on various species throughout the country. It’s not uncommon to encounter small mammals, birds, reptiles, and even larger animals like deer and other wildlife that have fallen victim to vehicle collisions.

Given the frequency of roadkill incidents, it becomes apparent why the idea of harvesting roadkill for consumption has gained some attention. While the thought of eating roadkill may initially seem unappealing to many, it’s essential to consider the potential benefits of using this meat resourcefully and ethically.

It’s worth noting that while roadkill can provide a source of meat, there are certain precautions and guidelines to follow to ensure the meat is safe for consumption. Proper inspection and handling of roadkill are essential to avoid potential health risks.

Inspecting the soon to be meal

inspecting the soon to be meal

When finding roadkill, above all else, trust your instincts. Humans have a natural ability to discern whether food is safe to eat or not. Whether it’s the appearance, smell, or taste, you’ll know when something is off.

Think about encountering a decaying animal carcass while driving or walking—without any expert guidance, you instinctively understand that the meat on that animal has turned bad. We’ve all experienced opening…

Continue reading here

Boy Talk: Common Reasons A Rooster Will Crow

One of the most idyllic images of country life features rolling fields of wheat and corn and a picturesque red barn. Cows contentedly chew cud, while a colorful rooster, perched on a fencepost, releases a crow to greet the rising sun. Many people wishing to leave the urban and suburban rat race envision this type of pastoral environment when they make plans to move to the country.

And then they arrive and the reality of rural life shatters that pretty dream.

Okay, so it’s not really so horrible out here in ag land. When my husband Jae and I decided to leave the city for rural life, we knew what we were getting into: Hard well water. Combines, tractors, and other large farm equipment on the road. Lots and lots of insects.

For us, the trade-offs—peace and quiet, plenty of property, no nearby neighbors, no HOA—far outweighed the negatives. We came in with our eyes and ears open.

Pastoral Pressures

Not everyone does, however. “Does your rooster crow all day long?” is the question I was asked by our former neighbors to the north, the Smiths. A retired couple, the Smiths had moved from urban Florida to the lot adjacent to ours.

We still have no idea why they left their sunny southern city to live in the Michigan boonies. I’m guessing that the “idyllic country life” thing had something to do with it.

Subscribe now

They built a beautiful home and carefully landscaped around it. Then they moved in, ready to relax and enjoy their golden years near some of the state’s largest forests and wilderness areas.

Jae and I welcomed them to our neck of the woods (literally), then watched as they battled to maintain a manicured lawn and otherwise tried to establish suburbia on their seven acres. The Smiths’ efforts were a common topic of discussion. But we chose to remain silent and keep our commentary to ourselves.

Something to Crow About

Our roosters, however, did not. Jae and I consider cock-a-doodle-doo to be the unofficial song of the rural zone. It’s background music. We barely pay attention to it.

The crowing most certainly bothered the Smiths, however. My guess is that they truly believed a rooster will only crow to greet the rising sun. They seemed quite perplexed as to why crowing came from our property well past sunrise.

Mr. Smith stopped me one day while I was gardening to ask his question. I politely informed him that yes, our roosters—at that point in time, more than a dozen of them—crowed all day long. It was a common country myth, I explained, that a rooster will only crow at dawn.

Mr. Smith’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline at my reply. “Oh,” he said, then he turned and walked back to his property, undoubtedly to inform Mrs. Smith that our pesky roosters—more than one!—would be disrupting their peace round the clock….

Continue reading here

Meet The Curious Peacocks & Tubby Chickens Of Mader’s Coop

Kristyn Mader is a proud egg-slinger who presides over a fine troop of chickens, ducks, rabbits and peafowl at Mader’s Coop in Corrales, New Mexico.

“I grew up with chickens as a child,” recalls Mader, whose family farm also featured geese, horses and goats. “Any time I would have a bad day I would go sit in my favorite spot that I carved out of the haystack.

“I would sit there and watch the chickens, talk to them, hold them and instantly feel better. Ever since my childhood I have longed to have a farm again.”

Taking a moment out from running her own Mader’s Coop farm, we spoke to Mader about the dynamics of raising peafowl and the mischievous nature of Silkie chickens. We also got the story behind the popular Tubby Chickens Tuesdays social media hashtag.

Getting to Understand Peafowl

Along with chickens and ducks, peafowl play a crucial role at Mader’s Coop. Generally describing their personality as being “docile and very timid,” Mader says that one of her adult male peafowl is an exception to the rule.

“I hand-raised James, and he is different,” she explains. “James loves to be scratched and petted. He’s very tame, curious and affectionate. James is very special to me.”

Caring for Peafowl

When it comes to the way the peafowl at Mader’s Coop interact with other animals at the farm, Mader says that she mostly keeps them separated.

Well, with the exception of James.

“He free ranges with the chickens and ducks from time to time, and they all get along very well,” she says. “James loves to show off for the hens. My rooster doesn’t dare challenge him. I think he knows he wouldn’t win that battle!”

Beyond James, the rest of the peafowl at Mader’s Coop dwell in a large enclosure, in part to ensure that a sense of wanderlust doesn’t kick in and tempt them to fly away.

Read more: Check out these 4 unusual European chicken breeds!

Spotlighting Mischievous Chickens

Mader highlights a tiny Silkie chicken named Bugsy as being among the most mischievous of animals at Mader’s Coop. “She’s the smallest chicken in the flock and has the biggest attitude!” she says. “Bugsy will challenge any animal big or small—no peacock, duck or rabbit can scare her!”

In terms of Bugsy’s attack tactics, it seems she favors sneaking up behind her victims in order to steal their snacks. “If they even attempt to chase her, she will turn around and go after them,” says Mader. “They run away every time. It’s hilarious!”

Introducing Tubby Chicken Tuesdays

Some of the most popular posts on the Mader’s Coop Instagram account involve the #TubbyChickenTuesdays hashtag.

“My daughter and I love chubby chickens!” says Mader as she breaks down the origin of the series. “The fatter, the cuter in our book!”

Mader says that originally she wanted…

Continue reading here

Tree Propagation Through Air Layering. Passes a 100% genetic copy.

It’s summer and you find yourself in a TEOTWAWKI situation. You wish you had access to more trees or shrubs that produce food. You realize things won’t be back to normal anytime soon, so investing the energy and time now seems like a good idea for the payoff in calories of fresh fruit or nuts a few years into the future. Propagation by seed is one easy way to get more trees, but you’ll have to wait until late summer or fall to harvest seeds, and then let them cold stratify (i.e., simulate winter conditions via subjecting them to cold temperatures) over winter. Additionally, most trees and shrubs won’t breed true (i.e., meaning the seeds will not grow into the delicious food-producing nursery cultivar tree you gather seed from). So how else can you propagate a tree or shrub? This article covers one of the easiest methods for tree or shrub propagation, air layering.

Materials needed (with possible substitutions discussed in this article):
1. Clear Kitchen Wrap ~ 18 inches
2. Peat Moss ~ 1 handful
3. Aluminum foil ~ 18 inches
4. Rooting hormone (~0.8% IBA strength)

Note: Items 1-3 on the above list are be easily substituted or improvised in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Methods for improvising rooting hormone are not easy. Air layering can be performed without rooting hormone with much lower success rates. This article does discuss how to create your own rooting hormone solution using Salix spp. (i.e., trees in the willow genus) trees.

Air layering has been practiced for thousands of years. When a node (botany term for the part of a plant where leaves or branches form) containing part of many plant species finds itself tipped down into/onto the ground, roots form. For example, if a branch is bent over to the ground and kept in place using a rock, roots may form under the rock and over time the roots can support new shoots and live independently of the original plant. This process, which clones the original plant, is known as layering. Plants can be layered using the tip of a branch or mid branch. Air layering is simply what you call it when we artificially bring the ground up to the plant. Other common names for air layering include pot layering (because a special pot with premade holes is used to hold soil next to a branch) and Chinese layering (the method is believed to have been developed by the Chinese). Air layering can be done in many ways, which will be covered below.

But first, let’s understand why air layering is a good idea for a novice in plant propagation and well suited for a TEOTWAWKI situation. Note, several other plant propagation methods will be mentioned briefly, not as a how-to-guide, but to contrast them with air layering.

Why I prefer air layering over propagation by seed: Air layering can be performed in the spring or early to mid-summer, a huge window of time compared to the few weeks…

Continue reading here

Food in a Desert? 10 Places to Find It

food in a desert feature

Believe it or not, there is food in a desert – if you know where to look. Many deserts are filled with life and a lot of that life can be consumed by humans. That said, even though many deserts are filled with life, there are certainly some deserts that are absolutely barren.

The deserts that we’ll be talking about are the Sonoran Desert along California, Arizona, and Mexico; the Great Basin Desert along Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon; as well as the Chihuahuan Desert along Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

You may not be able to find all of the desert foods I mention in all of the above listed deserts, but there’s a good chance you’ll find one or two. We’ll be talking about some of the animals that reside in some of these areas, not just plants. I’ll mention 5 plants and 5 animals.

early humans testing food

First, some words of caution about any wild edible:

  • Leave some behind for other animals, and for those foods to reproduce.
  • Use proper precautions as needed, such as gloves.
  • When first trying a wild edible, make sure you’ve 100% positively identified it before consuming. Get a wild edibles book of your area and take it with you when outdoors (more on books toward the end).
  • When first trying a wild edible, taste just a little bit at first to see how it may affect you. Just because it’s edible, doesn’t mean you won’t have adverse reactions. Some people may be allergic, or it may upset their stomach, or whatever the case may be. But it could also be perfectly fine. Try a little at a time at first, wait 24 hours and see what happens. Then try more.
  • Make sure it’s prepared properly. Some wild edibles, especially animals, need to be prepared first before eating. Make sure you can properly identify if anything is wrong with it, like unusual spots on an organ or a berry or plant looks diseased.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Many plants are eaten by animals. There also could be insects around the plants that could harm you.

Have fun! Identifying wild edibles and hunting wild game is exciting and being prepared is important.

10 Foods You Can Find in a Desert

All sand, hot sun, and no water? Not so fast. Humans have lived in desert-like environments for centuries. There’s food in a desert – if you know where to look.

1 – Cactus

prickly pear cactus

There are many types of cacti, but specifically the prickly pear cactus has a few edible parts. The pads can be eaten. You can even use the pads to boil water inside of it. The flowers can be eaten. Keep in mind, whenever you pick a flower, that flower won’t create fruit.

Lastly, the prickly pear, the fruit of…

Continue reading here

Are Backyard Rabbits Safe To Eat

Sharing is caring!

The short answer is yes! Rabbits are an excellent source of protein, and they don’t require any more care than a common house cat. However, you should be cautious about eating them because some diseases can be transmitted through their meat. Rabbits are usually safe to eat if you cook the meat thoroughly.

There are many different types of rabbit meat that are perfectly safe and delicious to consume. The long answer is more complicated than it seems at first glance. Here’s what we know about eating rabbits:

Which Backyard Rabbits Are Safe To Eat

Raising backyard rabbits for meat is a popular pastime these days. If it’s what you’re looking to do, make sure that you go with the best breeds!

Rabbits with the most desirable meat would be Silver Fox, French Angora, and American Chinchilla. If you are considering eating rabbits for their fine taste or health benefits then these rabbits should be at the top of your list to hunt down.

Silver Fox: This breed is a great choice for those looking to raise rabbits. If you’re worried about the meat, don’t be – they are known for having large litters and will provide safe but tender rabbit meat if healthy enough.

American Chinchilla: The American Chinchilla is a breed of domesticated animal that has become popular due to the meat produced. This muscular and stocky creature will provide you with more than enough savory, sweet meat!

French Angora: The French Angora breed’s rabbits hardly come with enough meat. On top of that, the rabbit fur is vulnerable to matting. This means you’ll need to keep brushing it from time-to-time and watch out for an attack by the fever virus as well!

Really, any domestic meat rabbit breed are safe to eat. It’s just a matter of preference.

The two inspirational alternatives from the wild are as follows.

Cottontail Rabbits (both mountain and desert): While they are small in size, these rabbits have shown to be fantastic meals. Their delicious and high-quality flesh will swiftly capture your attention. Due to their nocturnal nature, you can usually hunt them in the evening.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit: This rabbit is America’s most hunted, and it’s not hard to see why. The cotton ball tail and ruddy brown coat are some of the characteristics that make this creature distinct. Because they are nocturnal, hunting them in the evening would be ideal.

If you don’t want the rabbits to escape your yard when you aren’t home or unable to catch them, check out this low-cost, efficient spring-loaded trap on Amazon to set up in your backyard for easy trapping and prevention of their flight.

How To Tell If a Rabbit Is Safe To Eat

In most cases, wild rabbits will be flea-infested and have parasite infections. Though these might not be a danger to people, the pests and parasites can cause long-term damage. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on rabbits with fleas…

Continue reading here

The Survival Wild Game Nutritional Guide

Wild game is the essential free-range, organic meat and provides many health benefits such as high B12 and B6 vitamin levels, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, iron, and a lower fat content than domestic animals. It is a healthier source of protein when compared to the lamb, beef, or pork you buy in the grocery store.

Much of our uncertified store-bought meat contains substances that do not occur naturally in animals, such as steroids, growth hormones, vaccines, animal by-products, and antibiotics.

Game feeds on the natural foods available in the area where they wander about throughout their lives. Their meat is a lean, low-fat protein because of free-roaming wild animals’ higher activity levels and their all-natural vegetation diet.

Due to its lower fat content, the meat from an active wild animal may not be as tender as its farm-raised counterparts’ if not cooked properly, but it contains more flavor compounds because of increased blood circulation.

Published comparisons regarding the nutritional values of farm animals and wild game produce results that vary considerably. No two seem to provide identical percentages.

The following offers a general guideline should you find yourself in a position where you need to depend on the survival food that fishing, trapping, and hunting provides.

A Guide to The Nutritional Value of Wild Game

Why is wild game meat superior to commercially supplied or farm animal meat?

According to several surveys, domesticated animals contain 25 to 30 percent fat, whereas the median fat content of wild game is approximately 4.3 percent. The fat from wild game includes many more polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial to you, and much less saturated fat, which is not.

Some game meat contains more dietary cholesterol than that of farm animals. However, the combination of a much higher percentage of cholesterol-reducing polyunsaturated fatty acids, less saturated fat, and leaner body tissue makes it a healthier choice. View the comparisons below:


*  100 grams equals about 3 1/2 ounces
** Information from other sources

Researchers at Purdue University found that wild game – specifically grass-fed Rocky Mountain antelope, deer, and elk – contain an elevated amount of omega-3 fatty acids and a lesser ratio of omega-6. They comprise two parts of omega-6 to one of omega-3 in their muscle meats.

Grain-fed beef contains a five to one up to thirteen to one ratio. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are vital for balanced nutrition, yet too much of either one can cause health issues or chronic disease. Wild game fats counterbalance each other, which may lower cholesterol levels.

We require the high levels of zinc and iron that game meat provides for balanced health. Zinc supports a healthy immune system, and iron is essential for oxygen to reach organs and tissues. White meat, especially wild turkey, offers many benefits since fowl consume green plants, seeds, and bugs.

Consuming wild meat likewise has environmental benefits, whereas industrialized factory farms that produce cheap meat, dairy, and eggs hinder our planet’s health. We…

Continue reading here

How Much Should You Spend on a Rifle Scope? A Question About Budget

Start asking that question around rifle shooters and you will get a variety of answers, suggestions, and advice. Most of them come in the form of a “Rule of Thumb” that someone has read or heard somewhere. In general, these “Rules of Thumb” fall into one of these categories.

  • Spend at least twice the cost of your rifle on the glass.
  • Never spend less than 1,000 dollars on a rifle scope.
  • Spend everything you have leftover in your budget for your rifle scope.
  • Price doesn’t matter if it is a (insert a brand name here) scope.

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and advice to give. I rarely hear anyone talk about finding the scope that best fits your shooting needs and expectations. Very few people go to the store to buy anything with rules such as those listed above in mind. Buying a rifle scope should not be any different. Find the highest quality scope with the features you want at the price that fits your budget.

Shooting Styles and Features – The Two Are Entangled

Before you start shopping for a rifle scope, spend some time thinking about how you expect to use that scope. How you use the scope is a big part of deciding what features you need. There is no reason to spend extra money on features you may never use in the field. 

What Type of Shooter are You?

In general, shooters fall into three main categories. Each of these shooting categories demands different features in rifle scopes and should be the foundation of your rifle scope decisions. I tend to categorize shooting styles like this.

  • Casual shooters
  • Hunters
  • Competitive target shooters
  • Combat and tactical shooters

There may be some overlap in these categories. Casual shooters, plinkers, and range shooters may also occasionally hunt, as do some competitive shooters. I have found that it is rare among rifle owners to find someone who owns a rifle used only for one purpose.

Casual Shooters, Plinkers, and Range Shooters

This category is, far and away, the largest category of rifle owners I have found. This group of rifle owners represents the average gun owner in the US. I would also guess that the most common rifle in this group is the venerable .22 Long Rifle. I must admit that my Ruger 10/22 gets more use than any other rifle in my gun safe.

As I write this article, a new Ruger 10/22 costs about $300. The vast majority of these rifles become casual shooters used for target practice, plinking, training, and the occasional small game animal. Does it make sense to put a $600 scope on this rifle?  Not in my book.

I admit that my Ruger 10/22 is probably overglassed. My Ruger 10/22 sports a Vortex Optics rimfire scope that probably cost about what I paid for the rifle. However, my age and the state of my vision make the variable magnification worth the…

Continue reading here

Rabbit In The Garden? It’s A Common Frustration

In The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, farmer Mr. McGregor is forced to defend his garden from the titular bunny. He gives chase until the anthropomorphic critter—stuffed full of vegetables—makes a narrow escape (minus his jacket and shoes).

Readers might be relieved by Peter Rabbit’s survival. His blatant disobedience in visiting the garden notwithstanding, no one wants to see him wind up as the main ingredient in one of Mrs. McGregor’s rabbit pies.

But hobby farmers might be more inclined to sympathize with the plight of Mr. McGregor. A rabbit in a garden is a discouraging day of destruction waiting to happen.

A Woeful Tale of the Rabbit in My Garden

Recently, I’ve been feeling a lot like Mr. McGregor. There’s been an explosion in the wild rabbit population on my farm, triggered by at least one spring litter.

The baby rabbits have started venturing out. One—we’ll call him Petey—is growing a little too bold in his exploration of the farm.

About one week ago, Petey managed to slip into my farm’s main garden through an open gate. Inside, he found a world of lush plants quite unlike the surrounding yard, complete with a thick patch of raspberry bushes convenient for hiding out of sight and out of reach.

Subscribe now

There’s no telling how long Petey would have stayed—and how much he would have eaten—if he hadn’t been noticed immediately. A grand chase involving multiple people ensued. It ended with the little rabbit unleashing a frenzied dash out of the raspberry patch, out of the garden and across the yard to hide under a nearby shed.

Read more: Want to grow more in less space? Try trellising your plants!

Petey’s Persistence

We hoped this would mark the end of Petey’s garden adventures. But unfortunately he hasn’t given up quite so easily.

Over the course of several days, he was spotted repeatedly near the garden fence, perhaps searching for a way inside. Each time, we chased him away—sometimes to the safety of the shed, and sometimes into patches of tall grass.

Of course, we didn’t really think Petey would find his way back into the garden, at least as long as we kept the gate shut. The garden is surrounded by two types of fencing—eight-foot welded wire to keep out deer, and two-foot hardware cloth to keep out smaller animals like rabbits and squirrels.

The hardware cloth is bent outward at the base and buried slightly to discourage critters from digging underneath.

But Petey’s efforts eventually paid off. One afternoon, there he was, sitting in the middle of a walkway even though the garden gate had been shut. Realizing he’d been spotted, Petey retreated back to the raspberry patch, and considerable rattling of the bushes was necessary to flush him out.

He finally reappeared at the back of the garden. Then Petey sprinted to a corner and—poof!—seemingly ran right through…

Continue reading here

Post-TEOTWAWKI Barter. Bettering Your Post-SHTF Barter Preps.

Many Prepper YouTube channels and Prepper websites advocate the stocking up of barter items from the dollar store.  Let us examine this line of thinking and explore other options for barter goods.  I don’t doubt that the un-prepared might have a need for dollar store quality trinkets but there are four questions to ask yourself before stocking up on barter goods from a dollar store.

  • One, will those, who are prepared with barter goods need your dollar store barter goods?
  • Two, what exactly will those, so unprepared as to need something from the dollar store, have of value to trade with you?
  • Three, is it worth the security risk to trade with people that are that un-prepared as to need something from the dollar store?
  • Four, will the dollar store items be seen as valuable?

I have taught classes in family disaster preparedness and used several props from the dollar store to demonstrate and drive home the point that when you need your disaster supplies kit, you need the items to work since your life may depend upon it.  I used a dollar store Swiss Army “style” knife with a bent-over blade to demonstrate the lack of quality.  If you put 50 of these knives away for trade for a post-The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) environment, how many people would make a trade for a knife of such poor quality? Perhaps they don’t know the knife is of poor quality and they make a trade for it and it breaks the first time they use it?  Word will get around that you have junk and/or that you are a cheat. Both of these opinions will be detrimental to you, as you will be stuck with trade goods no one is willing to trade for and/or no one will trust you to trade with you for anything.  Yes, there will be hoards of the un-prepared who need stuff but like you and I, they will need that stuff to be of quality to survive.  The un-prepared will probably be desperate to begin with.  The perception (or reality) that they got “ripped off” on a trade by you may make them even more desperate and thus turn them into a potential security threat.

I’ve been rough on dollar stores just to make a point.  I’m not insinuating that there isn’t anything of barter value at a dollar store but you need to test those items and if, after the test, you wouldn’t put the item in your bug out bag, you shouldn’t put someone else in a bind by trading something of such poor quality.  As my dad always used to say “your reputation is the most valuable thing you own, so don’t tarnish it.”  I suspect after SHTF reputation will mean a whole lot more for everyday survival than it does today.

Something else to consider is how many other Preppers in your area have also stocked up on barter items from the dollar store? Will the barter marketplace be flush with dollar…

Continue reading here