The Dying Time Newsletter Volume 27

Terrorists are poisoning America's water supplies using an Environmental Cleanup company as a cover. When ousted CEO Nick Kuiper hires a beautiful con artist and her legendary grifter father to get his company back they tumble to the plot and all hell breaks loose.


America will reel from this blow like she was struck by the fist of God.


Go to my website at www.RaymondDeanWhite.com to read a sample chapter.

AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON.COM 

http://amzn.to/29ozNIY 

I hope you'll give my latest book here a try. And if you do, don't be shy. Tell me what you think about it and post reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, okay?

"AMERICAN JIHAD" the second book in the War Corps series (following TAP DOUBT) is in editing and hopefully will be released in July.

Here's hoping you had a good Memorial Day holiday!


I apologize to all for not getting a newsletter out last month. I really wanted to do one on gardening but just couldn't get time free to do the article.
 

PERSONAL UPDATE

As most of you know by now my wife has been afflicted with serious health issues for almost a year now. Due to that I've had to suspend virtually all writing until now. For the first time in more months than I care to think about she seems to be doing better. After she was diagnosed with gastroparesis we went to the Keck Medical Center in Los Angeles and she had a gastric pacemaker and a feeding tube installed. That was more than a month ago and despite a few setbacks she has been making progress--gaining weight, eating food that requires teeth, and having enough energy to join me for short periods out in our gardens.

A few days ago she told me she never thought she would ever feel this good again. Having observed her suffering first hand I can tell you that almost caused me to break down in tears. I hadn't felt so good since last July when this all began.

Now, the thing about gastroparesis (basically your stomach quits working properly so food is neither digested as well as it should be nor is it moved to your intestines for further processing) is there is no cure. That's the bad news. The good news is sometimes the condition reverses itself and for the most part the symptoms (nausea and vomiting) can be controlled with medication. We're learning how to do all this, but relapses can and do happen so we're enjoying each day and trying hard not to get our hopes up too high.

I want to thank you all sincerely for your prayers on her behalf. 

Anyone who doesn't think prayer matters has never seen it work the way I have. My wife's diagnosis, her acceptance for treatment by Keck and her road to feeling better and having the best quality of life she's enjoyed in almost a year all began after folks began praying for her.

As a result of her improvement I am beginning to find time to write. I actually wrote my first new scene for FREEDOM RISING since last September and I've resumed editing AMERICAN JIHAD. Because of the recurring nature of her illness and the constraints it places on my time I cannot make any promises for release dates--though I am very nearly done with editing AMERICAN JIHAD. or writing FREEDOM RISING I simply can not do that and give her the care she requires. Family first you know, and she is everything to me.

On the positive side I'm now an official Amazon Bestseller. The Dying Time: Impact recently hit #2 in Dystopian Fiction and #2 in War and Military. 

AUTHOR RECOMMENDATION and FREE EBOOK

Meanwhile, I'd like to suggest you give my friend and occasional co-author Duane Lindsay's book a try. His Missing Amanda is available for FREE on his website. It's a 1950's era private eye tale with a surprise twist at the end and a lot of humor and unconventional action throughout. When I was editing it for him I found myself chuckling--a lot. Here's a link to his website:

Author Duane Lindsay

PREPPER INFO

Rabbits vs Chickens
 

Among Preppers the debate rages. Not the one about Trump vs Clinton. That one is settled. No, I’m talking about raising rabbits for meat vs chickens. I’m a fence-straddler myself as I say why not both. I mean, sure, chickens have several advantages. They provide eggs as well as meat and they can be amusing as all get out. Plus, over time, you can learn how to use them to de-bug your garden. But rabbits are even easier to raise than chickens and they produce meat faster than chickens. An eight-week old bunny produces a four-pound carcass that is more than half meat. Most chicken breeds require twenty-four to twenty-six weeks to produce a fryer with that much meat. Rabbits take less room to raise than chickens and I know of nowhere that has codes prohibiting rabbits, so they can be raised legally even in the heart of most cities. They are quiet, don’t smell and, unlike chicken manure, which must be composted, their pellets are such mild fertilizer they won’t burn your plants even if applied directly to your garden. Rabbits are also easier to dress out than chickens since there are not bothersome feathers to deal with. The final advantage to rabbits is they can also provide fur for slippers, coats, mittens and hats.

Warning for your first-timers out there. Both rabbits and chickens can be endearing so it is best if you DO NOT NAME THEM. Naming them converts them to pets and makes harvesting them for meat more traumatic—especially if you have young children. Rabbits are cuddly enough without having names attached. I’ve considered naming them Roast, Jerky, Fryer, Casserole, Stew—you get the idea—but have so far resisted the temptation as it seems crass.

Those of us who were raised on farms and ranches always knew where our food came from, so raising and harvesting a meat animal like rabbits or chickens teaches your children about the reality of eating meat. That lesson, that carnivores and omnivores must kill animals to eat, will help ground your kids in reality.

In my book, “Bugging In: What To Do When TSHTF and You Live In Suburbia” I called chickens the entry level drug of the livestock world because if you started with them before you know it you’ll have ducks and rabbits and maybe even those little Nubian milk goats. Your neighbors may think you’ve gone Dr. Doolittle on them, but so long as you can produce or acquire feed for them those animals will keep your family well fed.

For purposes of this article I really want to focus on raising rabbits, because, as I stated earlier, they are even easier to raise than chickens.

Since a typical litter is six to eight, a single buck and doe breeding pair can produce twelve to sixteen pounds of meat for your family in as little as three months without putting undue stress on the doe. If you do the math that comes to 48—64 pounds of meat per year per breeding pair. That is reason enough for me to have rabbits.

Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert. In fact, I’m pretty much a rookie at this whole raise your own meat thing. I lived on farms as a kid and my grandparents had both chickens and rabbits so I have had some experience but that was more than fifty years ago. So don’t take everything I say as gospel. Check it out for yourself.

The main site I’m providing a link to for information about raising and caring for rabbits. It’s called The Hostile Hare and they really know their stuff. Seriously, in a space smaller than a queen-sized bed you can grow enough meat for your family and probably to trade. Combining rabbit production with an aquaponics system and a few chickens could save your family from starvation.

 
http://www.hostilehare.com
 

The Countryside and Small Stock Journal is an excellent source of info on selecting, caring for and raising rabbits, chickens and other small livestock. That magazine is one of my homestead staples.

 
http://countrysidenetwork.com/magazines/countryside-magazine/
 

They even have a free downloadable guide titled Raising Rabbits for Meat: Everything You Need to Know, from Best Meat Rabbits, to Best Food for Rabbits and Other Facts About Rabbits.

 
http://countrysidenetwork.com/get-download/download/?dtd=144138
 
Breeds
 

My wife and I are starting with Californians (rabbits, not people). They can produce fryers that tip the scales butchered at a bit more than two pounds in only eight weeks. It’s recommended to harvest them young for the best, most tender, meat. We may branch out to New Zealand or other breeds such as Cinnamon, Silver Fox or Champagne d’Argent later on, but for now we’ll stick with Californians. Statistics reveal that, if you feed your bunnies commercial pellets, supplemented with table scrap greens it will run you around seventy cents to produce one pound of rabbit meat. Of course if you have a well-fenced lawn (we don’t even have a lawn), or raise lettuce and root crops in your garden, or have an infestation of dandelions, your feed bill would go down. I figure my wife and I can produce rabbit meat for a total cost of less than ninety cents per pound, including cages, feed and water bowls and other equipment. And for those of you who have never eaten rabbit meat, it really does taste like chicken, as it is a mild-flavored meat that really can be substituted for chicken in any recipe.

So how do you get rabbits? What breed should you choose?

We are getting ours from a local homesteader we know who hasn’t kept up with his butchering and now has too many breeding pairs. You can find rabbit breeders by contacting the American Rabbit Breeders Association www.arba.net.

Just go there online, click on Member Resources, then click Find a Breeder and scroll down to the breed you are interested in. Californian junior bucks typically run about $40 and does about $50.

My wife and I really want to try the Cinnamon breed as it is an American Heritage breed but they are expensive. So, until we are comfortable raising and harvesting the Californian breed we will hold off.

 
Housing
 

Many experts say it is not a good idea to house the buck with the doe unless you are breeding them. Bucks may eat newborn kits and Does can be very territorial and have been known to attack bucks so it is probably best to keep them apart until the doe is receptive. Since I’m going to raise rabbits outside that means I needed two hutches.

The hutches I built each measure 30” high x 36” wide x 60” long. Each one basically resembles this one you can get online at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Hendryx-461-Large-Rabbit/dp/B004HSQQY0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1489182947&sr=8-5&keywords=outdoor+rabbit+hutches&linkCode=sl1&tag=bds2016-20&linkId=7fea4bf3473bc1cf4af24dccc10ce330 but mine is bigger. I used 1” x 1/2” wire mesh for the open area wall. Like the one on Amazon the top is hinged as are the cage doors. Unlike the one on Amazon I have vent “windows” screened with metal window screen to provide better ventilation—as overheating is more of a problem here in Arizona than getting too cold. Those “windows” are protected from rain by the overlap on the hutches shed-style roofs. In the winter I can plug the windows with the pieces I cut out to make them.

I used 2x4 construction as we can have high winds here so I need it to be sturdy. It is also anchored along the back side to a chain link fence so it can’t be blown over. And for additional heat protection it spends most of the day in the shade of a tall spruce tree.

The kind folks at Hostile Hare have warned me that my hutches will eventually become expensive chew toys for my rabbits. When they do I’ll probably buy a Hostile Hare cage system as they work incredibly well here in Arizona and are designed with ease of use and maximum meat production efficiency.

 
Cleanliness
 

If you keep your hutch clean and disinfected your rabbits will live healthier lives and you won’t be faced with a choice of vet bills or culling your herd. Change the straw or wood shavings in their nest boxes frequently. If you use water and feed bowls wash them out every couple of days. If you use an automatic waterer, change the water to keep it fresh.

Rabbits are mostly healthy if kept in a clean environment. Their most likely problems will stem from external and internal parasites. You won’t be able to spot internal parasites such as pinworm or tapeworm until after you’ve harvested the meat. Internal parasites such as those make the meat inedible and, in fact, dangerous to consume so you’ll end up tossing it.

External parasites—fleas, ear mites and flea mites are much easier to spot. You can get treatments for these from a vet or a pet food store. Until you can do so it’s best to quarantine any affected animals to prevent spread.

But as previously mentioned, keeping the hutch clean should keep your rabbits from becoming infected.

 
Feed and Water
 

Since my wife and I grow root crops, lettuce and kale in the fall, winter and spring we can supplement the pellet feed by quite a lot. Here you should picture Bugs Bunny cheerfully munching on a carrot and saying, “What’s up Doc?” We will still use pellet feed just to insure our rabbits get all the minerals and vitamins they need. The recommended amount of pellet feed is about 6 ounces per day (think tuna can). We may eventually go to a fodder system. It looks and sounds good on paper and on the internet but for now we’ll stay with the basic feed bin. https://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-Food-Feeder-Quick-Locks/dp/B005FU4Z8I/ref=pd_bxgy_86_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B005FU4Z8I&pd_rd_r=5G3Z144BQ8GVHNXTQGRH&pd_rd_w=XDvtr&pd_rd_wg=p9A2F&psc=1&refRID=5G3Z144BQ8GVHNXTQGRH

I’ve been told it isn’t a good idea to let rabbits have access to unlimited feed as they will get fat and fat rabbits don’t breed as often. Thus we will opt for the 6 ounces per day per bunny feeding.

I bought an automatic watering system from Hostile Hare. Here’s a short video that shows what it is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BKYycRvUYY It’s far more sanitary than a water bowl. I used their watering nipple system because it’s been proven effective and durable and because it fits the 1” x ½” mesh in my hutch. If you aren’t much of a do-it-yourselfer, you can buy an All Weather Rabbit Water Bottle on Amazon for about $11 https://www.amazon.com/Lixit-Corporation-SLX0670-Weather-64-Ounce/dp/B0050ICKN2/ref=pd_bxgy_86_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0050ICKN2&pd_rd_r=M5VXMTZPJTBAYM0E5PN7&pd_rd_w=6szd8&pd_rd_wg=JaV1f&psc=1&refRID=M5VXMTZPJTBAYM0E5PN7 but the water nipple kits I got from Hostile Hare are cheaper.

Aside from food, water, shelter and a bit of cleaning, rabbits are very low maintenance. You may have to trim the nails of your breeding pairs and here’s a link that will show you how to see if you need to do so. http://www.hostilehare.com/common-care/

 
Killing and Butchering
 

I have a feeling I’m going to be completely on my own when it comes to this task. Rabbits are cute and cuddly and I’m pretty sure my wife will balk at killing them. I’m not saying I’ll enjoy it but I’m a meat eater and that comes with certain responsibilities for those of us who want to be independent. And one of those responsibilities is to kill your meat animals humanely. This is important for two reasons. First, any stress to the animal during the killing process will result in the release of adrenaline and other hormones that will toughen the meat and adversely effect its flavor. Second, humane killing is less stressful for you.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Some of you are laughing at the very idea that killing a rabbit can be stressful while others are aghast at the concept of “humane killing.” If you are the latter sort of person and you aren’t a vegetarian, you probably think meat comes neatly wrapped in cellophane and Styrofoam container from your local market. All I can say to that is that if TSHTF you will be in for a massive reality check. If you are the former sort of person, who doesn’t blanche at or flinch from killing a rabbit then you were probably raised out in the country like me, or you are a hunter. We know that it is our responsibility to make the meat animal’s death as pain free as possible. It is our duty.

Here’s a link to three methods of humane killing. http://www.raising-rabbits.com/killing-rabbits.html Of these I might use the broomstick method but I’d use a piece of rebar instead since it wouldn’t break when I stepped on it.

When I was a youngster I used the arterial bleed method and if the knife is really sharp the rabbit seemed to die peacefully. Frankly, this is probably the method I’ll use as it’s inexpensive.

But I think the best method for killing rabbits AND chickens is a device known as the Rabbit Wringer. http://www.rabbitwringer.com/html/rp3000.html The only problem with this device is it’s a bit pricey at $90 (which includes the poultry adapter). It’s neat and clean and I can tell from the videos it’s easy to use.

Once the rabbit is dead the easiest way to dress it out for cooking is to hang it up on a gambrel. That’s nothing more than a set of hooks you can hang the rabbit from by its rear legs. Down on the farm we didn’t have a gambrel. We had baling wire. So I’d use a very sharp knife to make a circular cut around the ankle joint of the hind legs then wrap one end of a length of baling wire around the leg above the cut (thus on the foot) and run that length of wire up over a nail sticking out of the barn wall and down to the other leg where the whole wrap the wire around the other foot was repeated. There were two additional nails in that wall the the wired up rabbit legs were placed on the outside of those nails to the legs formed a “Y” with the rabbit’s body.

Next I’d cut the front paws off at the “knee” joint and cut the head off. Those items were discarded in a bucket that sat below the rabbit’s body to catch the blood draining from the open neck.

Going back to the hind legs I’d make a cut from the original circular cuts down the inside of the legs toward the groin. I’d cut off the tail and join the two leg cuts. Then I’d peel the pelt from around the legs and down to the body. Grasping the hide firmly I’d pull it down the body and completely off the rabbit—it comes off looking like a tube with the fur inside and the skin outside. Since we tanned the pelts I’d put it in a separate bucket for my grandpa to deal with.

Next I’d insert the tip of the knife into the belly of the rabbit at the groin making sure I didn’t pierce the bladder. As I gently widened the cut down toward the breast I would insert the index and middle fingers of my non-knife wielding hand into the cut and spread it open—making it easier to run the knife down the skin to the ribcage without piercing anything but the rabbit’s skin.

The next step is to pinch the anus closed as near to the opening as possible (you don’t want any crap leaking out) then pull down to release it and scoop out the rest of the intestines and let it all fall into the offal bucket.

I never was much for eating rabbit heart or kidneys but I’d save them for fish bait.

I did, however, love rabbit livers (chicken livers too) so I’d keep them as well. And if you don’t like the livers, they also make good fish bait.

If we were eating rabbit that night, I’d wash the carcass off with cold water and put it in a bag to take to my grandmother or mom to cook.

Since rabbit is a tender, mild meat, it was usually barbequed, baked or roasted whole—like a chicken. It’s also good fried but it can be lean so frying can dry it out unless you’re careful. Whenever one of our breeders stopped producing their meat, since they were older and slightly tougher, would go in soups and stews. Any way we fixed it, it was delicious.

Once we got electricity on the farm (and shortly thereafter, a refrigerator) we could process several rabbits (or chickens) at the same time. But if you aren’t eating them immediately it’s a really good idea to put them in the fridge for at least twenty-four hours so rigor mortis can pass before either cooking or freezing the meat.


Thanks for reading and I hope you live well and prosper until we meet again next month.

 

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