Alaskan Game and Greens You Can Share With Pets

There are a bagillion ways to use 100% of the food you trapped, hunted, fished, gathered, or gardened. And I thought it would be fun to share ideas of native-to-Alaska foods that can be shared with your pets!

Dried Goose/Swan/Duck/Crane Legs and Feet: Snacks and chew toys for dogs, cats, ferrets, and rats.

Crab Shells: Legs of king crab, dungenous crab, and other sea-residing crabs can be crushed up and fed to Hermit Crabs.

Willow Tree Twigs: These can be used as chew toys and snacks for rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, mice, chinchillas, and birds. A grove of willow can also be used to feed goats.

Dandelions: Can be fed as snacks to birds, reptiles, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, mice, rats, and chinchillas.

Voles/Muskrats/Squirrel Meat: Most pet mice, rats, ferrets, and cats will eat these wild meats. If the voles are alive they can be fed to snakes that eat mice/rats.

Lynx/Beaver Meat: A well known source of nutrition for sled dogs these meats will happily be eaten by almost all dogs.

Wild Spinach: These can be fed to reptiles that eat vegetables, hermit crabs, rabbits, birds, gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas and mice.

Blueberries: Almost all small animals enjoy these, excluding ferrets (that should not be fed anything except for meat). Hermit crabs and some reptiles will happily eat these as well.

Blueberry Stems: Birds love these! They make great chew toys and snacks.

Foods for Kids While Camping

What foods are good for camping or even road tripping with kids? After summertime adopting about a hundred village children- I've had a few trial and error events with food and kids. Here are things I've learned usually work out pretty well.
Gossner Milk & Cereal: Gossner milk doesn't exactly taste like fresh milk- but it lasts a long time and goes really well with cereal. When served chilled I'm sure kids wouldn't even notice the difference in taste. The ideal children's camping breakfast food in my mind. Plus cereal and milk makes a great snack.

Dried Fruit and Nuts: The fruit is something sweet that won't melt like chocolate. And the nuts are something crunchy and salty that won't crumble like potato chips. They're a bit more healthy and a bit more practical. Personally I love dried fruit and nuts. Some kids aren't a fan. But try things like kiwi and banana chips and most will happily munch them up.

Chef Boyardee: These genius little cans cook great right beside a campfire. A quick easy meal that almost any kid will eat. If you pour it out of the can after cooking it will cool faster- instead of serving it in the can. And the fact it was cooked on a campfire is usually pretty cool to kids.

Pringles: Unlike other potato chips these ones come in a container that keeps them fresh (with the lid) and prevents them from being smashed. They're great for packing in a backpack. And snack-sized packs are good for kids to carry around in case they get hungry half way through that 3 mile hike your honey decided to take.

Uses For Five Gallon Buckets

Five gallon buckets are literally a universal camping object, that I personally believe everyone should bring with them. They, are light-weight, durable, easy to transport, and have so many uses. Such as:
  • Store food. The sealed lid helps keep food fresh as well as prevents insects from making their way into open pringles containers. You can also use the handle and hang the bucket from a tree limb to keep bears and other unwanted creatures out of it.
  • Store clothes in them when it rains. They're waterproof so if a storm comes through you don't need to shove everything into your tent. If you have a five gallon bucket you can pack clothes inside to keep the rain from drenching them.
  • Use them as a seat! They're the perfect size and height for sitting around a camp fire. Want something a bit more comfy? Bring a small 'chair pillow' and put it on top. Most garden sections have cushions for outdoor chairs- they work perfect for buckets because they're weather proof.
  • Wash dishes! They can withstand heat better than some plastic tubs, so you can boil water, pour it in, and use them as a 'sink' to wash dishes.
  • Store kindling. Just like with the clothes, you can gather up kindling at the beginning of your camping trip and them keep it dry from the rain. No more worrying about finding dry kindling after a storm- or at all, because you already have it stored away conveniently beside the fire!
  • Whiteboards for kids. Bring a collection of dry erase markers and an eraser. Your kiddies can use the plain white buckets as drawing areas. When they're finished they can wipe away the marks and start over again the next day... or hour- depending how 'bored' they get. It's a great way to keep toddlers busy!

Markets for Alaskan Nature Products

There is a market for almost every aspect of nature you can find in Alaska (or anywhere for that matter) if you just get creative. And the ability to earn money on nature hikes is limitless once you realize almost anything has a monetary value. Here are a few ideas!

Cottonwood Oil: An oil derived from cottonwood buds is one of the most expensive things Alaskans can sell. You can do research on making it and then sell it to herbal medicine suppliers or direct customers looking for it. It supplies arthritis relief and is believed to be one of the strongest natural remedies for chronic pain.
Alder Leaves: Alder leaves can be dried and sold as an additive to teas to help aid in headache relief. Some herbal suppliers may purchase them, but your best luck would be to sell them yourself.
Alder Cones: Dried alder cones can be sold as craft supplies for many crafters around the country. They're very popular in holiday crafts because they make such a unique small winter-time accent.
Willow Branches: Willow branches can be made into wicker and sold to craft stores and basket weavers. They can also be sold as chew toys for rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, and birds.
Blueberry Stems: Blueberry stems can be made into a tea! They add a sweet (lavenderish?) taste to other tea blends. They aren't often used alone, but can be sold as an additive. Many tea makers will buy them as well.
River Rocks: River rocks are purchased for a variety of things. Jewelry makers will buy certain colors or shapes for jewelry (quartz is popular). Religious/Spiritual suppliers will buy certain stones for ritual purposes. They can also be sold as home decor (vase accents, fountain addition, aquarium rocks).
Spruce/Hemlock Branches: Some wreath makers will buy spruce branches for wreaths. They're relatively stiff- which makes them a good decision for outdoor decorations. They also really like hemlock, because hemlock branches have a sort of 'droopy' evergreen appearance that can make beautiful holiday decor.
Dried Wildflowers: Many collectors will buy Alaskan dried wildflowers- specifically ones that are native to the arctic/subarctic and not other areas. Crafters will also sometimes buy them- but your best bet would be collectors and museums.
Tundra Lichen: Tundra lichen is bought by beauty suppliers to be used in making lotions, hair products, facial scrubs, and even soaps. It has a moisturizing property that is thought to help prevent wrinkles and promote glowing skin.
Moose Poop: These have been creatively formed into all sorts of things. Many artists buy them to make key chains, jewelry, novelty items, and other awesome things. But some pet stores will also buy them for Hermit Crab food.