Tag: Food

A Master List of Skills for Modern Homesteaders

Milking a Goat | photo via PioneerSettler

Milking a Goat | photo via PioneerSettler

Do you know how to set up a greenhouse, grow herbs, pluck a chicken, and properly train an animal? PioneerSettler serves of a list of 133 Homesteading Skills for the Modern Day Homesteader along with links to information and resources that will help you master these skills.

Some of these skills are ones that you’d obviously want to try at home, like making candles. Others are maybe not so obvious, like how to build a geodesic dome:

What is a Geodesic Dome?

Geodesic domes are one of the strongest, lightest structures you can build. Due to their unique design, they are wind, hurricane and tornado resistant. Geodesic domes can be used as extra storage, a greenhouse, or as a living space. It takes about 3 hours to put one together and about 15 minutes to take it apart. The parts are readily available at local hardware stores, and it the cost for this 19 ft x 9.5, 278 sq. ft dome is about $300.

These tips are amazing – like the Whole Earth Catalog for a new millennium.

One skill that is inexplicably missing from the list, considering all the advice about backyard poultry, how to dig a grave.

 

How Now Brown Cow: Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Drink

After hearing for years that water is the best thing to drink after exercise I was surprised to hear that the latest thing in recovery drinks is…chocolate milk!

I don’t know if it’s my imagination – or the placebo effect – but my knees do seem to feel better if I follow a run with a big glass of low fat chocolate milk. One thing I’m sure of, it’s been a great motivator. On days that I’m struggling with an extra helping of “doan wanna” it’s a little easier to get out on the trail knowing that there will be a big frosty mug of chocolate milk waiting at the end.

The Pros

According to WebMD chocolate milk has the following benefits over most sports drinks:

  • 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein
  • Easily digested whey protein that can begin rebuilding muscle tissue immediately
  • Casein, a protein that is digested slowly and reduces amount of muscle breakdown well after the workout

Livestrong, a site that seems completely sold on the idea of chocolate milk after working out, cites a number of studies showing that runners recover faster after downing a glass of choco milk than a carbohydrate loaded sports beverage.

The Cons

As awesome as chocolate milk is, it might not be for everyone. Livestrong also posts anti-milk articles that suggest (strongly) that any dairy consumption might be cramping your style. The best way to know whether milk might be causing muscle or joint pain for you is to keep a food diary. Try two or three weeks dairy-free and record your aches and pains. Then re-introduce dairy and see if there is a difference in the way you feel.

All I know is that chocolate milk makes me feel like a kid again.

What about you, what’s your favorite post-workout drink?

[Photo by Alice Birkin]

Turbo-Tune Your Gas Grill

Chevy V-8 Grill

Our gas grill recently reached the point where it was more blowtorch than barbecue. We figured it was time to pony up for a new outdoor cooker. But face it, a barbecue is a pretty simple machine. Not much more than a bucket with fire inside. So why not fix the old one?

The first thing to go on most barbecues is the vaporizer, the tent-shaped piece of steel that protects the burners from drippings and keeps the heat flowing evenly. If you’re handy with sheet metal cutters you can replace a worn vaporizer with a piece of galvanized flashing. Personally I always worried about the possibility of zinc toxicity from using galvanized metal while barbecuing. Apparently zinc poisoning is a matter of debate amongst grilling gurus. While zinc toxicity is unlikely unless your food is in direct contact with galvanized metal, you can put your mind at rest by using a food grade stainless steel replacement vaporizer. The benefit is that the heavy duty stainless steel will outlast galvanized flashing by a long shot.

Other things you can do to restore a perfectly good BBQ are to replace the burners as well as the piezo igniter. You can also get replacement cooking grids for most grills.

If your old grill suited your outdoor cooking needs you can save a bundle by giving it a tune-up instead of pitching it into the landfill.

Image from Wired Blog | Gadget Lab via Mega BBQ, Great BBQ Food, Grills & More

The First Cut is the Deepest: How to Skin a Muskrat

Photo by Preston Keres Washington Post

Photo by Preston Keres Washington Post

Where do you go after winning the Miss Outdoors beauty contest? If you’re Dakota Abbot, the 2008 winner of the Miss Outdoors crown, you go back to your first love – skinning muskrats.

“The first cut is crucial – you have to pinch the fur at the hind legs and cut straight into that meaty area there. You slice down and out real quick and just push your rat inside out,” said Miss Abbot according to the Los Angeles Times. Abbot went on to win the women’s junior championship for muskrat skinning at the 64th Annual National Outdoor Show. Her prize? One hundred bucks and a set of muskrat traps.

If you’ve got a hankerin’ to skin yourself some muskrats (and win the Miss Outdoors 2010 title?) let Dave Duncan show you how. It takes a special kind of man to skin a muskrat in his church shoes. Or you can watch this video of muskrat skinning on Youtube.