Monday, May 6, 2013

(Wild)Fire Wife's Life ~ Food & EOs

I am a wildfire wife. More specifically, a hotshot wife. Almost ten years ago, I met my husband (KB) on a wildfire; I was the EMT in fire camp, he was on a hotshot crew and we've been together ever since! Every spring, the seasonal firefighters return to work, joining those crew members stationed year round; after training, they "go available" for fires nation wide. [Read more about hotshot crews {HERE}]

For me, that means once the crew is "on" (i.e. available for fires), life is unpredictable. You don't want to plan dinner until you see them walk in the door, and then they may leave as soon as you sit down to eat. Why? As you probably know, wildland fires can happen at any time, virtually anywhere. When the call comes in that the crew has a fire assignment, they need to leave immediately and can be gone for just a few hours or up to 21 days. Thus, planning...well, anything, just doesn't make much sense. It can take some fire wives years to adjust to this lifestyle. Having been a wildland firefighter myself, I think it makes it easier to deal with. I have never been bothered by the unpredictability and look forward to fire season - but I do love my husband and am always glad when he comes home. 

Every year, the first night the crew comes on our tradition is to eat chili over spaghetti. This is a great hearty meal, especially good for winter, but is good anytime you need to replenish your calories. 

"Crew's On" Chili Over Spaghetti
Recipe from my grandma Gigi
1 lb hamburger (optional)
1/2 medium onion (optional, I don't use it)
Seasoning to taste: salt, garlic salt, worchestershire sauce
1 can chili beans, including liquid
1 jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
1 package of spaghetti noodles

Brown beef and onion, add seasoning . 

Add chili beans and spaghetti sauce plus a little water (about 1/4 cup). 
Simmer 30 minutes.
Cook noodles as directed.
Serve the "chili" over the top of the noodles.
Delicious with a salad and garlic bread.

Essential Oils Fire Pack *Updated 3/20/2014*

Wildland firefighters carry a fire pack every where they go, all day long on the fire line. This pack weighs approximately 45 lbs. I wanted to make KB an EO Fire Pack (ha, ha get it?!) without adding much weight. Here's what I sent him off with:

Digestive Blend: MREs (meals ready to eat) and food on the go, not to mention high stress, can lead to digestive issues. I put this is a roller bottle for ease of use (plus, his hands will be filthy).
Lemon: This can be used to clean tools and lift spirits when the hours of work are piling up. 
Peppermint: Smelling this, straight out of the bottle, can help relieve stomach upset. It is also a refreshing scent on a hot day.
Muscle Soothing blend: Working 16 hour days digging a line in the ground will make anyone sore. I'm sending him off with a roller bottle so he can apply as needed.
Melaleuca (tea tree): I'm adding this one to help kill germs. Wildland firefighting is not a clean occupation. He can kill foot fungus and use it with water to clean his hands.
Lavender: While not the "manliest" smelling oil, it's great for bump, bites and cuts. When mixed 50/50 with tea tree it helps fight the poison oak rash.

I included a dilution chart (found HERE) in the bottom of the tin and a few band-aids. I also gave him a tub of AP healing balm (recipe HERE), a tube of Itch Stick (recipe HERE) and an essential oil insect repellent in a spray bottle. Plus a small bottle of carrier oil for proper dilution. 

**Call to Action**
Update: I previously asked for submissions to a cookbook where all proceeds go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which helps families of fallen firefighters and those injured in the line of duty. You can now order these cookbooks from WFF {HERE}.

To my large fire family, spread near and far:
Here's to a safe fire season!

This post has been updated to reflect new information I have learned - you may find things omitted that were previously there. 12/2013