Making and Using a Poultice … Even On Hard-To-Treat Areas!

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Today, I’m going to empower you with several potent poultice variations to bring your herbal medicine game to the next level.

Making and Using a Poultice 1

The benefits of a poultice are that it is very localized, primarily affecting the area of application, and that it allows for prolonged contact with the medicinal plant components. Tinctures and essential oils are more concentrated than poultices, but they also absorb very quickly, spreading around the whole body. Poultices are longer lasting and much more targeted.

Poultices have another advantage in that they typically have a lot of drawing power.1)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingston, 2013. This makes them popular treatment choices for objects stuck in the skin, venomous bites, stings, and contact poisons, such as poison ivy.

Are you ready to become a pro poulticer? Then read on to learn the tips, tricks, and techniques to get the most out of this powerful herbal application.

How to Make a Basic Poultice

To make a standard poultice, mix dried or fresh herbs with water, stir or mash into a paste, and apply to the skin. Wrap it all up with a cloth or bandage to hold everything in place. Then congratulate yourself on a job well done.

“That’s awfully vague,” you may be saying. Well, yes, I suppose it is. But poultices are simple things, when you get down to it. They’re basically just a paste of herbs and water held against the skin. Rest assured, I will get into more details below. Check out this short video for a demonstration:

Consistency

How much water do you mix with your herbs? It’s more of an art than a science. You can find different recommendations for proportions all over the Internet, but it more or less boils down to using the “Goldilocks” method. This poultice is too dry. This poultice is too wet. This poultice is just right.

Making and Using a Poultice 2

The drier you make it, the better it stays in place. The wetter you make it, the better it conforms to your body and the better the herbal constituents will interact with or absorb into your skin. You want it wet enough to spread easily, but firm enough to keep it from running.

If you’ve added too much water, add some more of the herb. If you’ve added too much herb, add some more water.

Fresh or Powdered Herbs?

Use either. Powdered herbs are easier to work with, but fresh herbs are more potent (at least theoretically). Fresh herbs will require much less water, but will require a lot of grinding and mashing with your mortar and pestle. (Or you can just stick them in a blender.)

Using a Basic Poultice

When applying a poultice, you’ll usually want to cover about twice the size of the affected area.

Again, this may vary. Size may not be very crucial when dealing with a splinter. But if I had a rattlesnake bite on my foot, you’d better believe I’d make a whopping big poultice. No point in taking chances.

(By the way, that’s exactly what Marjory did when she got bitten by a copperhead snake. She wrote about it in her book, Snakebite! How I Successfully Treated a Venomous Snakebite at Home; The 5 Essential Preparations You Need to Have.)

The bottom line is that a bigger poultice isn’t going to hurt anything, but a smaller one may be ineffective. When in doubt, go bigger.

That goes for thickness, too. You can often get away with thinner poultices for minor things, but somewhere around the size of a thick hamburger patty (or veggie burger) would be ideal.

Making and Using a Poultice 3

Duration and Frequency of Use

How long should you leave it on and how often should you apply a new one? Again, you can get all manner of answers from herb books and websites.

For typical applications, an overnight poultice is a good choice. This is based on my theory that it’s a lot easier to deal with a poultice when you’re not walking around doing stuff. Repeat as needed.

Of course, poultices can be worn during the day, too. Six hours on and six hours off is a good general timing. You could also do anywhere from four hours on and four off to 12 on and 12 off.2)Jones, Patrick, DVM. The HomeGrown Herbalist. HomeGrown Herbalist, LLC, 2015. I like to give the skin at least half of the day free from the poultice to breath and relax.

Removal

Poultices usually come off without much trouble. However, if you had a particularly sensitive area, or just wanted to hedge your bets, you could apply a thin layer of oil to the area before applying the poultice.

What If It Won’t Stay Put?

Are your herbs sliding around? Try placing a gauze pad or folded washcloth on top of the herbs before wrapping it all up. Now when the outer wrapping is bumped or jostled, the herbs will have an extra layer of insulation from movement.

Fastening Options

Remember, poultices don’t have to be fancy. A roll of duct tape works just as well as an ACE elastic wrap. Often, you can wrap the area with a towel and fasten it by tucking it back in on itself. No additional fastener needed.

That being said, sometimes getting a little fancy can be fun, too. Consider sewing a pocket into your poulticing cloth to hold those herbs in place. Another option is to sew Velcro straps to your cloth. You’ll appreciate this if you ever have to poultice your own arm. One-handed poultices can be tricky.

Super-Charged Poultices

Instead of mixing your plants with water, why not use an herbal tea or a decoction?3)Decoction: A preparation in herbal medicine in which the medicinal components of a plant are extracted through boiling or simmering in water for an extended time. This method is often used on tougher plant parts, such as roots, twigs, or bark. A decoction is similar to an infusion, but uses more heat over a longer period of time.

The benefit of using a decoction or an infusion instead of plain water is that you’ll pack twice the power into the same-sized package.

Should Your Poultice Be Hot or Cold?

Temperature can influence your poultice’s effect. A hot poultice will have more drawing power, as well as stimulate relaxation and blood flow. A cold poultice will help reduce inflammation and dull pain.

Plastic Wrap

If you’re applying a hot poultice, add a layer of plastic wrap directly over the herbs to reduce the amount of heat lost to the air. Reduced airflow also reduces cooling from evaporation.

Fomentation

Technically speaking, fomentations aren’t really poultices. They’re more like a close cousin.

Rather than applying herbs to the skin and wrapping them with a towel, a fomentation soaks the cloth directly in an herbal tea or decoction and then applies that cloth to the skin. Wrap this in a warm towel, changing as needed to keep up the heat.

You may want to add a layer of plastic wrap between the two fabric layers to keep your fomentation from soaking up into the outer layer. Heating packs can also be used, if desired.

Herbal Ice

Making and Using a Poultice 4

Let’s not forget the power of ice. It cools, sooths, and reduces swelling. But why stop with plain old ice? Let’s get some herbs in there. Caution: With any of these options, a layer of cloth between your skin and the ice is advisable, to prevent any damage from the cold.

First, a note of practicality. While you absolutely can make a regular poultice and freeze it, I recommend that you make it much thinner than normal. A thin application is easier to bend, even while frozen, and is safer if you plan to leave it on for an extended time.

Another option is freezing plant juice in ice cube trays. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use your blender and strain out the pulp.

Wrap a cube or two of frozen juice in a wash cloth and hold it on the affected area as you would with regular ice. You can also crush the ice with a hammer or blender, and wrap it on your arm as a frosty poultice. It feels a bit like having a snow cone wrapped around your arm.

If you don’t have any frozen juice, you can also soak a cloth in fresh juice and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. You might call this a reverse-fomentation. Be sure you take the cloth out before it freezes.

Weird Locations

Sometimes an area does not lend itself to easy poulticing. This may be a matter of creative wrapping, or, in more challenging cases, you may need additional strategies.

Consistency (Again)

Altering the amount of liquid in a poultice can often get it to behave the way you want. A wetter poultice will flow in between cracks and crevices to touch every bit of skin. It also penetrates hairy areas better than a thick poultice. The downside is that it tends to be messy and get into a lot of areas you weren’t intending to treat.

A thicker poultice is much easier to keep in place. It’s especially useful in difficult-to-bandage areas, where a normal poultice would tend to fall away from the skin. The downsides to a thicker mixture is that it tends to crumble if too dry, and the herbal constituents may not absorb into the skin as well.

Ear

The insides of ears can be tricky. You really don’t want little pieces of plant material lost down in there. That’s just asking for trouble. However, you do have options.

You can cover the opening of the ear with a thin fabric to prevent plant materials from falling in. Then apply a hot poultice to the ear and cover to retain heat. The heat will carry any vaporizing constituents through the air, into the ear. This tends to be most effective with highly aromatic plants.

The classic example is to take an onion slice, heat it up, place it directly over the ear, and cover it with a towel. In this case, no fabric is needed to cover the opening to the ear canal.

Mouth                          

You can’t exactly wrap up the inside of your mouth. But you can pack herbs between your teeth and cheek, or directly onto a tooth. This is usually done overnight, since it won’t get in the way of talking and eating.

Be aware that some herbs will stain your teeth. I once used plantain in my mouth to help resolve a blocked salivary duct. It was effective, but gave me “zombie teeth” for a few days. If you’re concerned about staining, a grape leaf can be used to shield your teeth from direct contact.

A poultice can also be applied on the outside of the mouth if tenderness or other factors prevent you from placing herbs inside.

Special Applications

Spit Poultice

You won’t get to use your fun herbalist toys, but spit poultices are often just as effective as anything you’d get from a fancy apothecary. Think of it as a field-expedient poultice.

Making and Using a Poultice 5

To make a spit poultice, take the plant material and chew it up thoroughly in your mouth, mixing it with your saliva. This may sound gross, but saliva speeds wound healing4)Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Licking Your Wounds: Scientists Isolate Compound In Human Saliva That Speeds Wound Healing.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723094841.htm (accessed April 30, 2018). and has antimicrobial properties.5)Tenovuo, Jorma. “Antimicrobial Agents in Saliva—Protection for the Whole Body.” Journal of Dental Research 81, no. 12 (December 1, 2002): 807-009. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/154405910208101202. Still, you’d rather touch your own spit than someone else’s, right? So let the poultice’s recipient do the chewing.

Then apply the plant material, spit and all, to the desired area. If you don’t have anything to wrap it with, you might take a strip of cloth from your shirt, use a clean handkerchief, or just hold it in place until you can find something better. If you’ve got the right plants around and a little crafty know-how, you can create a wrapping from leaves.

Making and Using a Poultice 6

Adhesive Bandages

If your affected area is small enough, a simple adhesive bandage makes a super-easy poultice wrapping. It also works well to hold a thin slice of plant material in place, or to cover an area without fully wrapping it up.

 

Making and Using a Poultice 7

I used this method with a stubbornly infected cut on my thumb. I used a thin slice of garlic and a Band-Aid to poultice the cut overnight. In the morning, my thumb joint was a little stiff from the intensity of the garlic, but the infection was 100% dead.

Indirect

Some herbs can be over-stimulating to bare skin. In these cases, you can lessen the effect by first covering the area with a few layers of cheesecloth or a thin, clean dish towel. Then apply the poultice normally. This slows down the skin’s interaction with the herb, reducing any zingy sensations.

Making and Using a Poultice 8

Beauty Treatment

We’ve all seen pictures of someone at a spa. Maybe you’ve been that person. You’ve seen the clay masks on the faces and cucumber slices on the eyes. Well, those are basically poultices without any fancy wrapping. You now have my permission to go to a spa and tell your family that you’ve got an appointment at a holistic treatment facility.

Making and Using a Poultice 9

The Wrap-Up

This wraps up my discussion of poultices. (See what I did there? Because you wrap a poultice around you? No? Nothing? Alright.)

Can you think of any variations that I missed? Do you have any special techniques or tricks? Maybe a favorite poultice formula? Share them with us in the comments below, and help us power up those poultices.

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Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

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References   [ + ]

1. Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingston, 2013.
2. Jones, Patrick, DVM. The HomeGrown Herbalist. HomeGrown Herbalist, LLC, 2015.
3. Decoction: A preparation in herbal medicine in which the medicinal components of a plant are extracted through boiling or simmering in water for an extended time.
4. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Licking Your Wounds: Scientists Isolate Compound In Human Saliva That Speeds Wound Healing.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723094841.htm (accessed April 30, 2018).
5. Tenovuo, Jorma. “Antimicrobial Agents in Saliva—Protection for the Whole Body.” Journal of Dental Research 81, no. 12 (December 1, 2002): 807-009. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/154405910208101202.

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Underground Greenhouse Produces Tomatoes Year-round (VIDEO)

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An underground greenhouse makes a lot of sense in the arid climate of New Mexico. I came across a super-effective and simple Walipini-inspired greenhouse that was homemade by Mark Irwin.

Check out this video where Mark shows you what he has been doing and how he is making a small side income by selling tomatoes to the Albuquerque market year-round.

I am a big proponent of lots of little side-income businesses. Diversity ensures there is always something coming in.

Note that I’ve put the reference Mark mentions down below the video.

Enjoy—and comment! We love to hear from you.

Here is the link to download the excellently written PDF on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse”

 

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(This post was originally published on August 4, 2017.)

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Food Storage: How to Store Food With Dry Ice

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Knowing Store Food With Dry Ice is is an alternative to method to help preserve your food storage.  This method is slightly more complicated than using Oxygen absorbers, but it is cheaper. Additionally, depending on your location, this method is easier to do since most large grocery stores as well as welding supply companies have […]

The post Food Storage: How to Store Food With Dry Ice appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Thin Ice Ahead! How To Rescue Someone Who Has Fallen Through Ice

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person-wakling-on-cracked-ice

Thin Ice Ahead! How To Rescue Someone Who Has Fallen Through Ice

Winter is upon us, and one of the most immediate dangers is thin ice! Follow these steps to ensure the safety of the person who has fallen through the ice.

How to Save Someone Who Has Fallen Through Thin Ice

For this scenario, you find yourself near a body of icy water and suddenly you hear a cry for help. Someone has fallen through the thin ice! What do you do? Though your first instinct may be to run to the person’s rescue, this can actually lead to you also falling into the ice and becoming just as helpless.

danger-thin-ice

Rescuing the Victim

Follow these steps to ensure the safety of the person who has fallen through the thin ice– as well as your own safety.

1. Throw a long object towards the victim.

If the victim cannot get out on his own and help has not arrived, you should throw a long object that the victim can hold on to, such as a pole, a rope, a tree limb, or even a long scarf. Connecting yourself with the drowning person with a long object will keep you out of harm’s way. Once the object reaches the victim, he should wrap it around himself as much as he can.

  • To increase the chances of a safe ice rescue, you should be prepared with rope and other long items if you plan on going onto the ice.
  • Get a rope, extension cord, hockey stick, or any other sort of strong line that you can find.
  • Since the victim’s cold hands may not be able to grip the line, tie a loop (not a slip knot—preferably a bowline knot) at the end of the rope and tell them to put their arms through the loop and then bend their arms to touch their shoulders so that the rope is inside the bend of their elbows. Alternatively, they can put the loop over their head and slide it down under their arms.

2. Throw the victim a life preserver.

If you don’t have a rope or a stick, pull the victim out using a sled, a life preserver, or any other object. These rescue items will be more helpful than anything else.

3. Row toward the victim.

Follow these steps if you don’t have any rescue objects on hand. If you happen to have a lightweight boat that you can push across the ice ahead of you, you should push it to the edge of the hole, get into the boat, and then pull the victim over the bow, making sure that the boat doesn’t capsize. Attaching rope to the boat so the boat can easily be brought to the shore by other rescuers isn’t a bad idea – if there’s some rope nearby.

Interested in how to improve you medical survival skills? CLICK HERE to find out!

foot-cracking-thin-ice

4. Form a human chain if necessary.

If you don’t have any rescue devices but you’re with multiple people, then you may need to make a human chain to rescue the individual. To do this, you’ll need to have the rescuers lie on the ice as closely as they can, forming a chain by holding on to the ankles of the person in front of him. The person at the front of the chain, who is closest to the victim, should grab the victim by his hands and should pull him flat onto the ice while the person at the end of the chain pulls the chain back.

Though the human chain is not ideal, it’s far better than having one person trying to help the victim who is in danger of falling in because he has no back-up. If the person in the front of the chain also falls in, he’ll have the support of the person holding onto his ankles.

5. Pull the victim out.

Stay low, stay off the thin ice, and pull hard. If you have helpers, have them use their strength to assist with pulling while staying away from the thin ice. Whether you’re pulling the person as the lead in a human chain or you’re pulling him up with the help of a rope, the victim should be dragged across the ice instead of being lifted and carried.

  • Remain at a safe distance from the weak ice, and keep a strong grip on the rope or object. If you must approach, always spread your weight as much as possible.
  • At a minimum, if you don’t have any objects to throw, crawl on your belly––never walk. Another easy way to move with your weight spread out is to lay down with your hands above your head and roll on the ice.
  • If you do pull the victim out with a rope or other long object, make sure that you’re pulling the victim toward you, and not the other way around.

rope-boots-other-ice-gear

Keeping The Victim Safe

After you have rescued the victim from the water, follow these next steps to keep him safe.

1. Perform CPR if necessary.

If the victim has stopped breathing or has no pulse, either from drowning or from sudden cardiac arrest, perform CPR on the victim only if you know how. Please, do not attempt CPR if you do not know how but, keep yelling for help if help has not yet arrived to maximize your chances of finding someone who knows how to perform CPR. Even if the person appears to be dead, do not give up. Icy water can lower body temperature and slow down body functions. Just because the person isn’t moving or responding doesn’t mean he isn’t alive and in need of help.

If you are interested in learning more about CPR, please read my article, Surviving Hypothermia: What To Do Until Medical Help Arrives. My advice to everyone is to become certified in CPR. Knowing the skill of CPR is one of the most important skills that any survivalist or outdoorsman can learn.

**Disclaimer: The CPR instructions within the article listed above are intended for informational purposes only. Before performing CPR please seek proper certification and training.

2. Warm the victim.

If the victim is breathing and conscious, bring him or her inside or somewhere warm. He may need to be treated for shock as soon as possible. Remove wet clothes and immerse the person in lukewarm water that’s no warmer than 90° Fahrenheit, 32° Celsius. Gradually warm the water up later. Immersing a victim of hypothermia in water that is too warm can cause dangerous heart rhythms. If warm water is not immediately available, wrap the person in blankets.

Though you may think that giving the person something warm to eat or drink will help him, you should not give any food or drink to a person who is still in shock and unable to eat or drink.

3. Get the victim medical attention as soon as possible.

Even if the victim feels fine, he or she should still be examined by a medical professional. Though you have rescued the victim from the ice, you’re not out of the woods quite yet. The repercussions of falling through ice, even for a few minutes, can be deadly. The person may be suffering from frostbite or a number of other complications.

person-wakling-on-cracked-ice-1

Avoid Future Falls

If you want to prevent future falls through the ice, you should always know the thickness of the ice. Research in advance where you’ll be fishing, walking, snowboarding, etc. You can check the thickness of the ice by using an ice chisel, ice auger, cordless drill, or tape measure.

Another option is to call the local bait shop or lakeside resort to ask about the ice conditions in the area. Here are the appropriate thicknesses for each activity:

  • 2″ (5 cm) or less: Stay off the ice. The ice is too thin and won’t support your weight.
  • 4″ (10 cm): appropriate for ice fishing or other on-foot activities.
  • 5″ (12.5 cm): appropriate for a snowmobile or ATV.
  • 8″ – 12″ (20.5 – 30.5 cm): appropriate for a car or a small pickup.
  • 12″ – 15″: (20.5 – 38 cm) appropriate for a medium-sized truck.

 

survival-md

Source : survivallife.com

 

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Snow To Make Roads Slushy, Icy From DC To Philadelphia, NYC Into Tuesday Night

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Survival World News

By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Episodes of snow and slippery travel will affect the mid-Atlantic states and parts of New England through Thursday.

A series of weak storms moving in from the Midwest will spread rounds of snow across the Northeast.

Enough snow will fall to cause slippery roads, airline delays and disruptions to some daily school and work activities.

While the snow through Thursday will be light and intermittent much of the time, there will be a couple of episodes when it can snow hard, almost like a summertime thunderstorm regime.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Snow To Make Roads Slushy, Icy From DC To Philadelphia, NYC Into Tuesday Night

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Beet Juice … As A Deicer?

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Beet Juice … As A Deicer?

Did you know that run-off from road salt can affect soil and water in a similar way as acid rain? According to a study by University of Maine researchers, road salt run-off at concentrations of 220 milligrams per liter can cause 10 percent of a waterway’s species to die within a month.

As it is applied, road salt also bounces off the roads, finding its ways into fields, streams and gutters quite a ways from the road where it was placed, and often causing more and more salt to be spread on that road. Scientists have documented an increase in groundwater salinity in the winter months and particularly in areas that are close to major roadways. In other words, they have made a link between road salt and the contaminated ground water.

As a result of the dangers of road salt and its high cost, many municipalities have looked to more environmentally friendly alternatives for de-icing roads, sidewalks and trails. One of the most promising alternatives is beet juice.

Yes, beet juice. A mixture of beet juice – made from the lowly sugar beet — and salt is less toxic, less corrosive, and stays put better than salt alone.

New 4-Ounce Solar Survival Lantern Never Needs Batteries!

The Minnesota Department of Transportation pioneered beet juice as a deicer. The sugar beet industry is big in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota, and researchers were looking for ways to use and/or re-use sugar beet waste when they found the benefits of beet juice as a deicer.

Whereas salt only prevents water from freezing at temperatures of 5 degrees or higher, beet juice lowers the freezing point of water to as low as 20 degrees below zero. Adding beet juice to road salt also significantly lowers the “bounce rate” of salt from about 30 percent to 5 percent. Therefore, far less salt is needed to cover an icy roadway or walkway.  Beet juice deicer is also easier on vehicles, pavement, plants, trees and waterways.

Plus, the savings can add up. With the use of the new beet juice product, the Morton Arboretum in suburban Chicago is using nine times less salt, a savings of saving almost $14,000.

Beet Juice … As A Deicer?

Image source: Pixabay.com

K-Tech Specialty Coatings in Indiana has been distributing a product called “Beet Heet,” which is a sugar beet molasses-based product that can increase salt’s capacity to melt ice. Promotional material for the sticky mixture says it stays put on the road with much less runoff or bounce off than salt alone.

Last winter about 175 municipal agencies — most of them in the Midwest — used the product or a similar one. The brine made from beet juice and salt “hangs on” to the road for several days, melting snow and ice and making repeated applications unnecessary.

The New York Thruway Authority, for example, is in its fourth year using a beet extract solution as part of its winter maintenance program. According to a 2015 press release from the Thruway Authority, the agency expected to use 175,000 tons of rock salt, 230,000 gallons of salt brine and 100,000 gallons of the beet brine mixture to keep the roads free of ice.

Now, you may be wondering why you haven’t seen a purplish red hue on the roads during the winter

That is because the beet juice deicer is actually a brown liquid, made partly from extract of the white sugar beet. The brownish mixture does not stain the raids.

For more than a decade, scientists have been experimenting with beet juice and other natural ways to melt ice or to make salt work more effectively. Some of the other products finding their way into road salt mixtures are cheese brine, molasses and potatoes.

With the success of beet juice, the experimentation is sure to continue.

What is your reaction to the use of beet juice to clear roads? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Think Outside The Shack: Designing A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

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Think Outside The Shack: Design A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you live far enough north that lakes or rivers freeze over winter, it makes sense to fish all winter long when the bounty is available through the ice. While you can go out on the ice without a shelter and fish on a fair day, you will get more fishing days in and be more comfortable while doing it if you have an ice-fishing shelter.

It’s true that you can purchase many ice huts and tents intended for ice-fishing, but for real flexibility you should consider designing a custom shelter that precisely meets your needs.

In reality, you can use almost anything as an ice-fishing shelter if it keeps you warm and meets local building codes. Innovative sportsmen have used recycled trailers, sheds, plastic outbuildings, large crates, and their own construction to create a variety of shelters that do the trick. You don’t need to overthink your ice-fishing shelter. Look around at local classifieds or in your own backyard to find a structure or trailer that you can repurpose. If you can use some repurposed materials, you can quickly and easily construct something that will keep you very comfortable.

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There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what will work best for you:

Warmth

You will want to have room in the walls of your shelter to add some kind of insulation, maybe foam, and to properly insulate any doors or openings. Most ice-fishing shelters also have a stove or other heat source; if you have room in yours, you may want to consider installing a chimney and stove to keep the shelter toasty and provide you with a cooking surface. Wood stoves are common, since propane can create more hazards if not properly ventilated. However, either stove type will need to be used with caution.  Locate your heat source away from your exit, in case of fire.

Size

There are many tiny fishing houses out there, and indeed there is some appeal to the solitude of fishing alone in the peace and stillness of winter. Still, most shelters will accommodate at least one guest. Fold-up benches and tables are nice if you can build them in to your shelter. When you’re alone, you can just fold them away.

Cost

If you’re building your shelter, the sky is the limit with how much you can spend on materials, with everything from expensive finishings to gadgetry available on the market. At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, vinyl on a PVC frame will keep you from the wind, but it won’t keep you very warm. For something middle-of-the-road, try plywood sheets, 2x4s, foam insulation and shrink wrap: snug and cheap.

Portability

Think Outside The Shack: Design A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

Image source: ofwoodsandwords.com

How will you move your shelter on to the ice? If you are repurposing a trailer, you’re ahead of the game because you’ve got wheels. This gives you a lot of flexibility, since you can easily tow your shelter from place to place to find fish or try a new lake. If your structure doesn’t have wheels, you can build a skid for it, or else mount it with wheels or skis to move it around the ice.  You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.

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You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.

Fishing Holes and Fittings

Don’t neglect to consider the logistics of how you are going to fish in your shelter. You’re not just going out on the ice to sit comfortably with a book! Depending on the size of your floor, you may have 1 – 10 holes cut into it and through the ice. Ensure that you have secure covers for these holes to make sure no one steps through them when you’re not fishing.

Other matters to plan for include shelves for drying wet gear, hooks for storing rods when not in use, coolers for fish, and possibly even a cleaning station. Some anglers install entertainment in their ice-fishing huts, such as televisions or games tables; don’t do it at the cost of your fishing.

Once you’ve got something practical and workable, don’t be afraid to add a little flair. There is real creativity out on the ice, with everything from whale-shaped ice shelters to geodesic domes to mural painting expressing the wit and personality of the designer. You may even catch more fish!

No matter what, an alert angler is better at noticing his catches, so it’s worth the effort to make a place where you won’t be fighting the cold.

What advice would you add on making an ice-fishing shelter? Share your tips in the section below:

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El Nino to drive flooding rain, mountain snow into California this week

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By AccuWeather

A series of El Niño-enhanced storms will continue to bring more beneficial rain and snow along with hazards to California and the southwestern U.S. in absence of a pineapple express.

The above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, tend to strengthen the storm track into the West Coast and occasionally California during the winter.

The current El Niño has tied the strength of the El Niño during 1997, which was the strongest on record.

The storms which initially brought rain, snow and ice to much of the Pacific coast of the United States to start the week will spiral progressively farther south into Friday.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: El Nino to drive flooding rain, mountain snow into California this week

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First winter storm of season brings ice, snow to northeastern US in final days of 2015

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By AccuWeather

A quick shot of cold air will lead the first widespread ice and snow event of the season across the northeastern U.S. into Tuesday night.

The storm that unleashed severe weather, ice and blizzard conditions across the south-central United States this past weekend will impact the Northeast into Tuesday night.

Fresh cold air will set the stage for more widespread snow and ice to fall than with recent storms in the Northeast from New York state and New England northward to Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

“The worst travel conditions in the Northeast will continue through Tuesday morning across northern and eastern New York and New England,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. “Roads that are not treated will become treacherous and people may not be aware of the hazardous situation.”

Continue reading at AccuWeather: First winter storm of season brings ice, snow to northeastern US in final days of 2015

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Thanksgiving Travel Outlook: Rain, Ice and Snow to Cause Hazards in Central US

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By AccuWeather

Travel hazards, delays and disruptions associated with rain, ice and snow will continue over the Central states through the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Rain, ice and snow will force motorists to slow down and will lead to airline delays over thousands of square miles from the Rockies to the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.

The weather will have little impact on travel along the Atlantic Seaboard, Appalachians and Pacific coast for much of the long weekend.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Thanksgiving Travel Outlook: Rain, Ice and Snow to Cause Hazards in Central US

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Onslaught of Snow, Ice and Rain to Slick Central US on Thanksgiving Day

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By AccuWeather

A major Thanksgiving Day storm threatens to ruin holiday events across the Central states with flooding rain, snow, a glaze of ice and fog.

The storm will continue to push through a large portion of the West through Wednesday.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers, “People traveling either a short or long distance from the eastern slopes of the Rockies to the Plains, Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes region are likely to encounter delays into Friday.”

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Onslaught of Snow, Ice and Rain to Slick Central US on Thanksgiving Day

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