By Barbara H. Peterson


My Blue and Gold Macaw name Rita, short for Margarita, and I fell in love at first sight in 1995, when she was just a whipper snapper, fresh out of the egg. I had extra money then, so home she came. To make sure that I had a good start on her upbringing, I read several books on feeding, training, and raising your bird to be a contributing member of the family. Since Macaws live to be around 80 years of age, having one that is an agreeable member of the family is a must.

We learned to bath together in the shower, play, and talk to each other. With constant interaction, we developed a very close relationship that includes her telling me when she is thirsty or hungry, when she has to go poopers (yes, she says it), and when she wants to go to sleep. She does not live in a cage, although I have one for her, and sleeps on a stand next to my bed. She is my alarm clock. When I wake up, she looks at me, says “gimme four,” raises her foot and gives the high-four (Macaws only have 4 toes).

Rita is a very healthy bird, as you can see by the picture. I believe that her diet is one of the main reasons for this, and it doesn’t cost me a dime more than what I ordinarily spend on people food! Why? Because if you eat healthy, then your bird can eat what you eat. Here is a picture of some scraps that I have drying under the ceiling fan for her. This includes some leftover oatmeal, Rita biscuits, peppers, carrots, raisins, onions, yams, and oranges:

Every time I cut fruit and veggies up, I take the end pieces, cores, and peelings, and place them under the fan to dry for Rita. I also add some dried pinto beans, raisins, and nuts to the ration if I have extra. If I get too many carrot peelings, I take a bit of leftover flour, eggs from the chickens, and bake some Rita biscuits for her. Remember, Macaws cannot have avocados, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol, as these things can kill them. Also, no moldy food, or anything that you could not eat yourself, and the coating on an overheated teflon pan will emit fumes that will kill your bird, so be very careful in the kitchen.

So, the next time you are tempted to grab that bag of processed bird food that is extremely boring and highly expensive, or bird seeds that contain about as much nutrition as a diet coke, resist! You don’t need to spend extra money on food that is inadequate for your lifelong companion. With a little effort, you can have a healthy, happy Macaw on a beer budget by simply not letting your scraps go to waste.

(C) 2011 Barbara H. Peterson

Practical Survivor

Urban survival is a tricky subject to discuss. There are advantages to urban survival. Anywhere you look there are items in trash cans and dumpsters that can be used to improve a survival situation. Cardboard boxes can be used for shelter, newspapers can be used for insulation and to the practical survivor another persons trash can be a treasure. In this case we will use a coffee can to build a stove. Whether you call it a hobo stove, can stove, or just a survival stove, this is a cheap effective way to both cook and stay warm.

Keep an open mind during any survival situation. This stove can be used during a black out (power outage) caused by hurricanes to boil water and help purify it. Sadly, we recently watched victims of hurricane Katrina succumb to thirst. Preparation and knowledge or urban survival techniques, could have helped some to make it through that disaster. Methods of water distillation and purification options can take minutes to learn and could save you and your loved ones.

Whether backpacking, camping, or surviving, having a way to cook can make a huge difference. Whether that is a nice warm meal or life or death, knowing different methods of cooking is crucial.

A coffee can or large vegetable/ravioli can will allow you to build a stove and cook. A smaller can such as pork and beans can be used as a pot. READ MORE…

Mad Max: Village Roadshow Pictures

Jeffrey Green

Activist Post

Some experts see the perfect storm emerging for a dramatic collapse of Western civilization claiming we’ve reached environmental, economic, and geopolitical tipping points. Clearly, some skills will be far more valuable than others if this societal breakdown occurs. Sorry bankers, lawyers, and accountants, there won’t be a need for you in a post-collapse world.  READ MORE…

The Dakota fire hole is a valuable wilderness survival aid because it burns fuel more efficiently, producing hotter fires with less wood. In many areas firewood is scarce or requires a large amount of time and expenditure of energy in foraging to obtain it. Once you build a fire, efforts are better spent attending to your other wilderness survival needs rather than in the constant gathering of firewood

Other advantages of the Dakota fire hole are that it creates a kind of woodstove with a stable platform that is very convenient to cook over.

This is how a Dakota Fire Hole works. As hot air from the fire exits through the top of the fire pit, a suction is created that draws fresh air down through the tunnel and into the base of the fire. This brings in plenty of fresh oxygen for combustion. A cycle develops: The hotter the fire gets, the more air is drawn down into the fire pit – making the fire hotter.