How to Start a Fire with Firesteel and a Knife

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How to Use Firesteel

Using firesteel in a survival or emergency situation can be tough. Here’s how to properly use a ferro rod and knife to start a soul-warming, life-saving blaze – every time…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

using firesteel

 

First, you’ll need some REALLY DRY tinder (this is the fine stuff) because this is ONE of the MAJOR keys to SUCCESS. Dead grass or weeds, fine, dry wood shavings, twine pulled apart, dryer lint or cotton balls all make good tinder.

Next you’ll need a campfire all set up and ready to go – I recommend a teepee fire for beginners – we’ll talk more about this in a minute.

You’ll need some comfortable leather gloves and a ferrocerium fire steel rod such as the Bear Grylls, Schrade and Exotac rods.

And last but not least, you’ll need a fixed blade knife.

Set Up Your Tee Pee Fire

using firesteel
Now… set up your tee pee fire with your dry tinder on a dry surface like sticks or a rock, and add kindling. Then top it off with some larger sticks for fuel.

Your Survival Knife

using firesteel
Next we’ll need our knife. Just about any sturdy fixed blade knife with a 90 degree / squared-off AND UNCOATED spine.

The Bear Grylls knife is a popular one with those just getting into survival land. With its included ferro rod and well-designed, notched, coating-free striker area on the spine toward the handle, it’s a perfect knife to start with.

Ferro Rod

using firesteel
Now… If you are using a new ferro rod (like the one that comes with the Bear Grylls knife, you’ll need to remove the dark rust-inhibiting coating from the portion of the rod you are going to strike.

To do this, angle the spine of your blade and scrape off a good bit of the coating. It should throw a nice shower of sparks.

using firesteel

Bonus Tip
Most beginners make the mistake of striking the ferro rod by pushing the knife over the rod and toward the fire… This often results in TOO MANY sparks falling short of the tinder, AND by pushing your knife out toward the fire you run the risk of knocking your fire over as your hand travels forward… which is really frustrating.

So Here’s the Right Way to Do It

using firesteel

With gloves on, hold the knife firmly with your strong hand, spine side facing down and the edge facing up.

Brace your hand on the ground close to your tinder for support. This hand will be stationary during the process.

Now grip the ferro rod with your other hand and bring it under your knife spine tilting it at about a 45 degree angle to the blade.

To generate sparks, pull the ferro rod toward you while it rubs against the edge of the knife spine.

Bonus Tip2

Problems? Here’s What to Do
If after a minute or two you can’t get a fire, your tinder is probably too wet or may not be the proper material.

So, if you have a choice, find new tinder. If not, keep trying. It might take up to 20 minutes to get a fire going in wet or humid situations.

ONE Last thing…

vaselinecotton
Since practice makes perfect… Here’s a simple way to practice using your ferro rod and knife without starting an entire camp fire.

Grab a cotton ball and add a small dab of petroleum jelly…This will allow the cotton ball to burn much longer.

To prepare your cotton ball tinder… Simply pull it apart a bit, expanding it to two or 3 times its original size, so it literally catches the sparks.

Then follow the steps we talked about earlier… AND with a strike or two… You should have a nice little practice fire in no time.

using firesteel

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View Ranger Mobile Phone Navigation App

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For about a year now, I’ve been using View Ranger Navigation on my Galaxy phone. And while there are no shortages of navigation apps out there, This app just really called out to me with some of it’s features.

Available for both android and apple, this app is free for download. One of the key points I liked about this app, unlike others, is I didn’t have to set up an account to use it. Of course to really enjoy all of the features registration is needed. But the key features are all available without registration.

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Survival Medicine Hour: Jack of Black Scout Surv., Gallstones, Fish Hooks, More

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jack richland black scout

Jack of Black Scout Survival

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour podcast, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, welcome back Jack of Black Scout Survival‘s popular YouTube channel to talk about his work and other important issues. Plus, Dr. Bones tells you all you need to know about gall bladder stones, a condition that affects 10-15 percent of the populations, and certainly would be an issue for the medic taking care of a large mutual assistance group.

gall bladder stones

Lastly, some ways to remove a fish hook from an outdoor mishap.

fishhookremoval

All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton!

 

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/04/14/survival-medicine-hour-jack-of-black-scout-survival-gallstones-fish-hooks

 

 

Some of the items mentioned in today’s interview with Jack of Black Scout Survival:

Benchmade SOCP

https://www.amazon.com/Benchmade-Dagger-Combo-Sheath-Skelentonized/dp/B008NBBTAS

BENCHMADE SOCP MEDICAL EDITION

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B06XD3J9LR/ref=pd_aw_sbs_200_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=H44CQTRPYXX6XPD852DR&dpPl=1&dpID=51a-lo20aYL

FELLHOELTER TIBOLT PEN

http://fellhoelter.com/shop/

Zebra pen f701

https://www.amazon.com/Zebra-Stainless-Ballpoint-Retractable-29411/dp/B002L6RB80

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

 

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net

MedBag-ADpic

The family medical bag and just some of its conten

Sunday Prepper Bible Study-Happy Resurrection Day!

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Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen . . .

Luke 24:5

This is what it’s all about. There’s nothing I can say to expound upon the plain simple truth of the sacrifice and resurrection of our Messiah.

When I think about what God put himself through that I might be saved, I find myself totally impoverished, unable to make good on the debt I owe.

I pray that this reality will stick with us all year round. And that we will consider the mercy we’ve been shown, treating others the way Christ has treated us.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness.

Jesus said, “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?” Prepper translation: “What good will it do you to survive the coming economic collapse, nuclear war, or even a zombie apocalypse if you don’t know you will go to heaven when you die.” A recent study found that 10 out of 10 people die! On that day we will meet our Maker. It only makes sense to be prepared for that day. Click here to learn more about knowing GOD.

Have a blessed day and happy prepping!

Mark

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The stuff that dreams are made of

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20170412_152810Yup…one kilogram of fine gold. There is very little in my or anyone elses life that this will not fix, or go a long way towards fixing. It is not even as big as a PopTart, yet it’s enough to buy a brand new truck, put a down payment on a house, buy five Barrett M82A1s, or get you the best night of your life in Vegas.

Really, what you’re looking at is the most concentrated form of energy that doesn’t require lead shielding to use.

Being a survivalist, your day-to-day is a Venn diagram of gun dealers, precious metals dealers, tradesmen, and a few other colorful folks…and they often have cool stuff. In this case, a kilogram of gold. What didn’t fit in my hand was the 100 gold 1oz. rounds that were sitting next to it.

Kinda looks like something out of Kelly’s heroes, doesn’t it?

Survivalism: introducing you to new experiences since…always.

Curricula in every subject to your 7th grader

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It really is constantly beneficial to make a draft version of your own composition. You’re now ready to begin organizing the way the article may suit together. If you certainly know your things, you have to end up creating a great essay in contrast to merely a exceptional article. The composition plan doesn’t have to get written so long as the article itself, it’s to just supply the bones of the essay. When you might have done some preliminary reading it truly is helpful to generate an idea on your own essay. Once you comprehend the composition issue, the following step within the article planning procedure will be to spark suggestions for your own essay by thinking. Article strategies for essays with a bigger word count may consider the surplus phrases they will have, as well as the writer may possibly aim to include additional info like which educational views they’ll be referring to, together with the tips the composition will confirm. Questions to ask of your own composition articles could be helpful. It’s likewise useful to make a note of the mentions near the quotes within the article plan, to prevent any errors and plagiarism. The most recognizable arrangement for persuasive writing could be the five- sentence essay.

Do not ask a similar thing in two ways that are other.

Certainly one of your own first aims within your article will probably be to present either facet of your own issue with the assessment of each. A judgment should not have any fresh info you’re simply summarising what you’ve previously written. writing a essay These may permit you to answer interview questions additionally. It’s advantageous to breakdown the info into round points within the essay plan, selecting the many pertinent info and jotting down how it could be developed on once the composition itself is written. GradeMiners.co.uk is a customized article service that offers academic pro aid to students. In here you’ll find lots of helpful suggestions about essay writing procedure. In here you may notice examples on various topics in some special formatting styles and of different types of essays.

Tell us whatever you realize here.

You might believe that, for your personal composition, structures for example these feel overly rigid. The essay needs a position on the problem and may supply an extensive framework for discourse. It takes a position on the issue but doesn’t offer a context for discourse. The essay demands a place on the matter and might provide some framework for discussion. It requires a position on the problem and may provide a critical context for discourse. You then should instantly supply a restatement of your own dissertation assertion. In this instance, your dissertation will probably be a statement of your own position on a specific controversial matter. The following phase of the essay strategy is the vital body of the argument, that will presume the better part of the essay.

Wright spoke concerning the american innovation when she visited visit with us.

It can help to write out procedures only at that moment. This will permit you to list the significant factors and evidence you are required to compose your composition and assist you to to understand and consume what you’ve read. You might be looking for a many important subject of debate which will form the backbone of your own article. In a argument article you’ll have to furnish evidence without supplying an excessive amount of play.

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Media’s importance within our life

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essay writing RememberUK article writing isn’t a easy job. When you can’t pay attention to your project and certainly need help writing an essay, just con Tact us. Keep this is supposed as your own academic writing task. With our crew of academic essay writers we can provide you with the leverage you are needed to triumph at every one of these jobs. At MyExcellentWriter, offers aren’t confined to composing documents only. Access it the very first, examine why there’s an cold educational documents. Should you be in this group, worry not for we’ve qualified and committed educational essay authors who’ll help you with articles that are original and that may fit your demands. This type of strategy enables the writers to appear at each aspect and peculiarities of the future educational essay. Occasionally it seems hopeless to detect an on-line article writer who’ll be able of quality workYet we have a complete team of these! S O obtaining an excellent educational essay is nowadays rather easy provided that you’ve uncovered your exceptional educational essay writer.

The biopsy can search for the current presence of cells to rule out melanoma..

Educational essay writing is really our fire and we might like to share that passion along side you. The article author within our firm will attempt to cope at any intricacy that’ll appear to be able to supply you with rank winning paper.

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Drinking Too Much Water Nearly Killed Me

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“Drinking too much water nearly killed me!”

That’s how the story started on a first-aid course I was teaching. I was into the middle of my spiel on hyponatremia (water intoxication) when one of the students blurted out that statement.

“It occurred on an organized long distance bike ride,” he continued. “We were riding along a ridge and I started to feel sick and was developing a headache. I thought I was just dehydrated and needed to rest, so I drank more water, but the headache was getting worse. I knew something was wrong and needed to go to the hospital. Luckily I wasn’t alone on the ride and an aid station was near by.

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Tilting Cabins

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I was trolling through Craigslist and found this interesting tidbit. It’s one of those forehead-slapping moments where you think “Why didn’t that ever occur to me?”. Here’s a link to a manufacturer: https://www.tiltcabins.com/design

Floorspace is necessarily small, but I love the vertical element. It has a sort of fire-watch-tower look to it. I couldnt see living in one full time, or for any long length of time really, but it would make a nice weekend cabin for fishing and hunting. I suppose the floorspace is limited by how big a load you figure you can get on the road. Since you’re hauling the thing in a horizontal position, the width of your widest wall will be determined by what you can get away with in terms of a ‘wide load’ on the road. Hmmm.

I do find ‘tiny houses’ interesting from a technical and logistics standpoint, but I could never live in one full time. The only way i could do that is to have it sitting on top of the access stairs to my cavernous underground bunker.

Nonetheless, I really do admire the ‘out of the box’ thinking. I doubt ccargo containers are designed to be stood up vertically, but that was the first thing I thought about when I saw these.

Flare for the dramatic

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,Rawles mentioned the a supplier for 26.5mm flares the other day.

Years back, Sportsmans Guide had a deal on genuine HK21A flare guns. As I recall, they were something like thirtyfive bucks or so and I bought a few. At the time there was a goodly amount of 26.5mm Czech flares on the market (26mm will work also). I wound up with quite a variety of projectiles and smoke. Hey, why not? They were cheap(ish) and definitely fun to play with.

Practical? Mmmmm….not sure. But..here’s where they shine – 26.5mm flares are far more…substantial..for your perimeter tripflare warning systems than those rinkydink 12 ga. Olin flares. A quick trip through the plumbing section of Home Depot gets you pretty much everything you need to build a tripflare warning system.

For the more DIY minded, I recall reading a how-to somewhere on the internet about nailing a rat trap to stake, and then attaching the pull chain off some of those Skyblazer flares to the trap bar. Set the trap, it gets triggered, bar snaps down pulling the chain and igniting the flare. Clever.

Of course, thinking about that sort of thing led me down the rabbit hole to how to make other perimeter warning devices using mousetraps. Interesting stuff.

Remember: primers are dangerous and they might ignite things you didn’t want to ignite that were in close proximity to them. So..be careful. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

The Importance of Rest in the Back Country

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I was fairly new to the business and eager to make connections and keep clients happy by being available when they needed me. I had already booked a project and now a different client was contacting me for a different project all together. The first job would end about 3 a.m. and the second one begin about 7 a.m. that same morning. I was young and full of myself, so I agreed to do the second one. Needless to say, I was a wreck. I couldn’t think clearly, I was moving slowly and I was caught dozing off a couple of times. Not a good way to keep a client happy.

That little experience is not unusual. People are doing it all the time, with reckless abandon, and getting into fatal accidents.

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A Prepper’s Guide to DIY Welding

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augustfinster / Pixabay

Having access to a welder means having one of the easiest and most time efficient ways to building or repairing something. Metal is more resilient than wood; and in a SHTF situation or TEOTWAWKI, scrap metal will most likely be plentiful. All you need is the welder and you are good to go. Wait, what do you mean you do not have one? It is time for your own industrial revolution with tips and tricks for a DIY welder.

Prepping for the Novice Welder

Because welding has a vast stretch of skill requirements, these tips are going to focus on the one safest for novice welders. This also means that many of the must-have components are going to be easy to acquire and not break the budget.

When prepping for a disaster, you should consider an electrical arc and generator combination unit. This is the simplest and faster means of having a welder on hand. All you would then need is a flux-core wire feed or stick welder to accompany it. Keep in mind that stick welders are inexpensive but are best for those with experience. TIG and MIG welders need shielding glass, which may be hard to come by, so you should only consider them if you have said welding helmet.

Now, if you need to make a DIY welder, here is one way:

The DIY Car Battery DC Welder

A quick caveat about the batteries: keep a constant watch over them so that they do not overheat. Lead-acid batteries may go into a discharge mode that is dangerous.

What you will need:

Jumper cables

A welding rod – recommended rods are 3/32” 6013 or the 1/8” 6011

Pliers

2-3 old car batteries — for a total of 24v or 36v

Directions:

  1. Take your pliers and bend the teeth of the alligator clip slightly forward. This will held with grasping the rod. Ties can help secure the clip to the rod. Since a high-amp current will be going through the rod, take all measures necessary to secure it.
  2. Acquire your batteries. These can come from a car, go-kart, golf cart, or anything with mid-sized batteries. Line them up side-by-side. The batteries need to be wired by putting one positive end of the middle battery to the negative end of an outside battery. Next round, take the negative of the middle battery and connect it to the positive of the remaining outside battery.
  3. The open positive gets to be the ground clamp and is attached to the metal sheet.
  4. Time for the final lead (should be one negative remaining on a battery). Connect the end of that cable to the electrode.
  5. Secure the work, because you will be striking the rod against it like a match. It should flare.
  6. You may be inclined to jump backwards, but do not drop the rod.

It will take some practice to perfect the striking technique, but that is how you use car batteries to make a welder.

If you want to see a video, check out a how-to on Youtube.

There are other ways to fabricate a DIY welder, but judging on the situation you may not be able to find all of the required goods. Batteries, however, a generally in supply, as well as wire and scrap metal. The other option is, as stated previously, to buy a generator and connect a welder to that.

When it is TEOTWAWKI, having the ability to weld is going to be a huge advantage for survivalists. You can repair damages to your shelter or make fortifications that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Do not hesitate to begin preparations now. You never know when you are going to have to break out the car batteries for some welding.

Brian – Founder of ProWelderGuide.com

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The 10 Essentials Revised and Improved

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Developed in the 1930s, by Seattle based Mountaineers club, “The 10 Essentials” were items listed as needed to respond positively to backcountry emergencies and accidents. Over time, the list morphed from an item approach to a systems approach, an improvement, but still fundamentally lacking in some regards. With some critical thinking and a couple of tweaks, however, the list can be solid.

The classic 10 essentials are

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Brushbeater Talks Gun Logistics

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Although I’ve done a number of posts about Survivalist firearms, I haven’t put my thoughts on the blog about the logistics of keeping them running. Brushbeater did a good job here of pointing out the problems and some solutions for long term firearms issues. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Running Spares- Keeping Your Weapon Going ON APRIL 2, 2017 BY […]

Solar Cooker Types Compared

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Solar cookers come in all shapes and sizes – from portable units to permanently mounted units. While they come in different designs, they all work the same way. They concentrate the sun’s energy into a small space at temperatures sufficiently hot to cook food. You can literally cook anything you want in one of these…

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Video – Target practice

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Found this elsewhere in the blogosphere and it really was too good to not share:

Reminds me…at some point I need to go shooting. The weather is getting nice and it might not be a bad idea to get in some range time.

As an aside, theres a gun show here in town this weekend so that’ll be interesting.

Early Morning Hike Checking Out Useful Plants

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By 3:30 a.m. I was already tossing and turning. After laying in bed for a while, I finally decided to get up. It was 4:00 a.m. by now and I was getting in the shower, ready to start my day. Funny thing is I really had no where to be, or anything really to do. I just wanted to get up and get ready. I guess It’s not entirely abnormal. I’m usually up between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning.

After checking some emails, I headed out the door and on my way to the convenient store for my usual morning stop. By now it was 5:oo a.m.

“Hmmm! Guess I’ll head over to the local hiking trail and get an early morning hike in,” I thought… Off I went.

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Chicken Fried Steak Throwdown

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I loves me some chicken fried steak. And I try to make it a point to have some in my travels across the states. I’ve not yet found what I would call the Cadillac of chicken fried steaks, but I’ve sure had some tasty meals in my search.

Now there’s one cowboy’s chicken fried I’m eager to try, cuz if you can beat Bobby Flay in a head to head throw down, I’m bet’n it’s gonna be the best I’ve ever had.

Sum y’all may’ve never hear of him, but he sure seems to be a household name round the cowboy culture.

Okay hoe’d up. Let me reboot. Trying to write in a cowboyish tone is giv’n me a headache.

Kent Rollins, rather cowboy Kent Rollins, is a bonafide chuckwagon cook, and if watching his videos don’t put you in a bushcrafting mood, I’m not quite sure what else will.

Born and raised near Hollis Oklahoma, Kent has been a cowboy all his life. He’s…. Ah hell let me just provide the blurb from his website, kentrollins.com

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Life musings

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Dropped off the docs to the tax preparer today. I make very little money and even *I* hate the way the tax system screws me over. I’d hate it even more if I actually made big bucks. i really do think we need a simple flat tax. 15% oughtta do it. It wouldn’t be so bad except that the tax codes aren’t even about rasing money to run .gov…it’s gotten into social engineering. They want people to own houses, since that presumably makes for a more stable and docile population, so they jigger the tax code to encourage you to own a house. Or to give money to approved charities. Or whatever other thing .gov wants to ‘encourage’.

Some Treasury secretary once opined, “What this nation needs is a tax system that looks like it was designed on purpose”. And it’s true. The tax code is the Winchester Mystery House of regulations. They never take anything out, they just add and modify whatever is already there.

I’ve been studying accounting and taxes for a few months now and let me tell you what I’ve learned: cash businesses rule. Seriously. Go open a car wash, pizzeria, adult bookstore, video game arcade, laundromat, or newsstand.

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Springlike weather has been going on here and i suspect that we *might* be done with the snow. This winter was a spectacularly annoying one. Not because it was harsh or anything, but rather because it kept doing a snow-thaw-refreeze cycle over and over. It got old real fast. Time to put air in the bike tires and get back to rising my bike around town.

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Saw Leupold’s new thermal imager today. It’s interesting but I wasnt terribly impressed. I was inside one of those big box stores and was playing with it. You could read residual heat signatures on objects, which was neat, but the effective range at which people registered as bright blips was a little short. I suspect it’s because the temperature in the building was a bit warm. Outside, at night, when it’s cooler the temperature contrast would be more pronounced. However, I could see this being a handy device for tracking wounded game or scanning your immediate area to make sure no one was laying in wait for you. It would probably also do a bang up job of seeing if a vehicle had been recently driven.

Interesting and would definitely be fun to explore, but not for the price. Resolution of the digital image was horrible, but I suppose that’s to be expected at this price.

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Also got to handle some newer guns….the CZ Bren rifle looked real nice, and I got to handle an MP5 clone from Zenith firearms. At $2k MSRP for either one, I’d probably stick with the AR15 for my .223 needs. The MP5 copy was cute, but for that price I could get three CZ Evo’s that would fill basically the same role. But…there’s just something so ’80s about the MP5….

Article -Student stranded for 5 days near Grand Canyon grew desperate

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Texas college student stranded for five days near the Grand Canyon says she was making farewell videos for her family as she grew desperate for help.

Arizona authorities say 24-year-old Amber VanHecke was well-equipped and did everything right after getting lost in a remote area during a solo road trip.

VanHecke said in a Facebook post that she was heading to a hiking trail but was led astray by her maps app and wound up in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

How ‘well-equpped’ are you if you’re relying on apps to figure out where you are and where you’re going?

It seems like more and more of these stories reference people placing their faith in their technology to guide them. Look, I love me some GPS as much as the next guy…but I always look at a real map beofre dumping myself into unfamiliar terrain. And I take a compass and a copy of that map with me. And I establish baselines to keep me within certain areas.

I’m also a little unclear…if she tried to chase down a truck, that means she knew where a traveled road was, right? So youldn’t you just head to the traveled road and walk it until more traffic came along? Clearly the road must have been within walking distance since she was able to see the truck on it. Lotsa details here are missing, but I’d be interested in more.

This is another of the very few cases of didn‘t stay with the car and things turned out well. However, the article seems to imply rescuers found the car first and then the girl.

Fortifying Your Home

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featured_home_safety

2_house_safety_robberyIf a burglar, kidnapper, or home invasion robbing crew targeted your home, it would be good if your home were a hard target, like a castle for fortress of the ancient days, but the reasonableness of your security measures must take into account the likelihood and severity of the risks you might face. Let’s go over some ways to make your home more secure, focusing on hardware and structural changes, not skills or techniques to learn.

By Kurt Martin, a Contributing Author to SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Most people have already considered moderately-effective security improvements such as getting an alarm system, installing deadbolt locks on exterior doors, installing exterior lighting all around your home, trimming trees and shrubs around windows, and getting a dog.  Almost everybody reading this article will already own one or more “home defense” firearms.  These are all good steps, but so much more can be done.

For the purposes of this article, let us acknowledge that unless your home is built from the foundation up as a fortress, you cannot expect any security measures to stop a determined team of burglars who are willing to take some time and make noise to get inside. If they come when you are home, your security precautions can give you a warning, so that you can put your defensive plan into effect.   If you are not home, your alarm and other security measures could give cops or your neighbors time to respond.

First Objective: Know They’re Coming

In order to defend your home and/or quickly send other people to defend your home in your absence, the first thing you need to know is that an attack on your home is beginning. It would be desirable to see the arrival of the criminals on your property.  For this, you want windows or cameras looking out into your yard from every direction– the street, the sides, and the back yard.

3_high_window_securityWindows and cameras. Every side of your home should have windows from which you can see out. Upper floor windows make for safer viewing out and are less vulnerable to being entry points for intruders. Windows are also potential defensive positions for you and your family to try to drive off or repel the attackers. Virtually all security-sensitive businesses, government offices, and the homes of VIPs, have a camera surveillance system as part of the security plan. Today’s security cameras often come with infrared lights to workwith limited rangeeven in total darkness. We would all be safer if we had them for our homes. A peephole can be more useful than a window sometimes. All your exterior doors should have one-way peepholes in them, preferably with wide-angle lenses so you can see people standing to the side of the door.

Exterior lighting.  Motion detector activated lighting is important, as are floodlights that you can also turn on with a switch.  They should be positioned to shine away from your home, so that you can see out without getting any glare, and without the lights making you visible from the outside. If one side of your home has no windows, consider mounting a camera there.  Studies show that good lighting of your home and yard at night is one of the most cost-effective methods of home security to discourage burglars.

Perimeter motion detectors.  Another way of knowing when somebody is coming onto your property is to use a perimeter warning circuit in your home alarm system. Most home alarm systems will accommodate this kind of addition, but most homeowners do not upgrade to this level of protection.  Perimeter detection can be either of two popular types: wide area motion detectors or beam-break detectors.  Both kinds are available with two kinds of underlying technologies: passive infrared light, or microwave signals.  

Related: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

3_perimeter_safetyPerimeter warning units mount outdoors around your home and yard, on posts, tree trunks, or the side of your home.  Wide area motion detectors will alert to a human or large animal’s movement in your yard, within a cone-shaped zone. Beam-break type detectors come in sets of two units, and one projects a beam toward the other, and the line between the sending unit and receiving / reflecting unit is the “beam” that is being monitored. If anything crosses that line, its body will temporarily block the beam of infra-red light, and the alarm is triggered.  The more common models that you might buy at a big box home improvement store use IR light, and they have a range of about 50-75 feet. The commercial models used by businesses are more expensive, but reach out to over 300 feet.

Perimeter alarm systems work best in conjunction with physical barriers around your property, such as fences, and a gate across your driveway to slow the approach of unwelcome vehicles. These barriers serve to give you more of a warning, as the criminals approach will be slower and noiser.

Second Objective: Block Their Entry

If criminals attack your home, you want them to find all your doors and windows closed and locked. They may try to break through one of these points of entry, probably a back door, where they cannot be seen from the street or may not be visible to the neighbors. You want your doors to resist being pried-open or kicked-in.  Here is how you can make your exterior doors stronger:

2_castle_securityStrong exterior doors.  Not all doors are equal when it comes to construction. Some are thin molded plastic glued to a wooden frame. Others have steel sheet metal over a wooden frame.  Wood is weaker than fiberglass and undesirable in a high-security door.  Even solid wood doors, though strong across the middle, are weak where they are drilled-out for the lock components. Commercial fire-rated steel doors are stronger than ones made for residential applications, but they’re a lot more expensive. Choose a door that does not have windows in it, especially if that glass is located close enough to the lock mechanism that a criminal could smash the glass and reach through to the lock.

The weakest link of the door itself is where it has been hollowed-out for the lock sets– the door material here is pencil-thin and easy to rip away from the metal lock components.

High-security locks and door-mounting hardware.  A standard exterior door lock has a short bolt that only engages a tiny bit into a recess in the door frame. A deadbolt, mounted several inches above the standard doorknob, gives you a second bolt with a much longer range of motion; it will often reach over an inch into the door frame. Make sure the fit of the door to the door frame and strike plate is good, with a very small gap. Many locking doors have a lockset that is supposed to prevent easy opening with a stiff plastic like a driver’s license, but in the real world sloppy installation or the loosening of the door frame over cause misalignment that will allow anybody to “jimmy” the lock.

To address the inherent weakness in doors and door frames due to flimsy and thin wood components that surround the lock parts themselves, buy door security hardware that lets you screw steel reinforcing plates or “wrap-arounds” over the part of the door that has the lock mechanism. You can also reinforce your strike plate, which is the rectangular metal piece surrounding the hole in the door frame into which the bolt of the lock will enter.

In addition to bolting steel plates to your door around the lock mechanism, as reinforcements to the door itself, you should use bigger, longer screws in and around your door. Replace the short, skinny nails and screws that your door was installed with. Use deck screws, which come in lengths of over 3.5 inches.  

Augment your door’s locks with an external bar.  Remember, no matter how good your door’s locks are, the bolts can be cut with modern cordless power tools. Criminals have been known to use such battery-powered tools to cut chains and locks. Another way to prevent a door from being forced open is to use a locking bar that is propped against the door at a 45 degree angle. Some such bars require a slot or stud hole in your floor, but others use a rubber-coated end and friction to prop the bar in place.

1_burglar_barsReinforce your windows.  As for windows, the most obvious problem is that a criminal can break the glass, reach in, unlock the window sash, open the window, and climb in.  To make your windows stronger, consider putting up another layer of barrier in addition to the glass panes. Some people use rigid panes or sheets of clear plastic, and this is good if the type of plastic is polycarbonate, such as the brand Lexan. Do not use cheap acrylic plastic, it is not particularly strong nor shatter-resistant. There are also “security film” window treatments on the market. They are tough but flexible wraps of clear (or tinted) plastic that apply to glass doors and windows just as one would apply tint film to car windows. This security film will hold the window together even when the glass underneath is broken. It is tough enough and energy-absorbing enough that it can’t easily be ripped away to create a big opening for an intruder to climb through.

However, a window’s sashes or frame can be smashed-through, just like a door. That’s why some people in high crime areas fortify their windows (and sometimes doors) with burglar bars. These bars cover the entire window opening with a cage or screen. They are much less attractive than clear plastic. Although they look “ghetto,” they are high security.  One risk that comes from covering your windows with burglar bars is that it will often prevent the window from opening.  You should consider whether you might need to use that window for ventilation or for an emergency escape, such as in case of a fire. Some burglar bar sets have a quick-release system, accessible only from the inside of the home.

Third Objective: Have Hard Cover in Your Home

If intruders made it through your doors and windows and get into your home, while you and your family are there, one or more of you may want to fight off the intruders, while others escape, either by leaving the home or locking themselves in a safe room.

Safe room.  A safe room is a place inside your home for you to stay out of sight and out of reach of intruders, even if that means the intruders can steal anything they want from the rest of your home. It should be a room that is very hard to break-into, and one that is equipped for you to comfortably stay there for a long time. The door to the safe room should be an exterior grade door, or a fire-rated door suitable for commercial construction. It should have good locks and lock-reinforcing hardware installed as described previously in this article. The door should have a one-way, wide-angle peephole.

If you were building or remodeling your home, I would suggest making the walls of one of the smaller rooms in your home (a guest bedroom, big bathroom, or a large walk-in closet) extra strong for future use as a safe room. For this room, you may want to put steel mesh screen across the studs before you enclose them with sheetrock (drywall). A good type of screen for this purpose is “remesh” made for reinforcing poured concrete driveways. You may want to have the studs placed at 8” center to center instead of the normal 16” spacing, to make it impossible for an intruder to rip through the flimsy sheetrock and step into that room by passing his body in between the 2×4 studs. Or you could use sheets of plywood to cover those walls first, and then use drywall.  

Check Out: Estwing Axe

The safe room should also have weapons inside it to deal with the intruders should they manage to break into that room. You should also have an axe and pry bar in that room so that you can break OUT of it, if necessary, if for some reason that strong door was blocked or its lock jammed so that you could not open it.

KISS_SHTFblog-survival-cache-tactical-magpul-aimpoint-comp-ml3-fenix-pd35-troy-magpul-dissipator-stramlight-tlr-1Consider what is “cover” inside your home. If you had to grab a gun and fight intruders, would it be to your advantage to position yourself behind bullet-resistant cover? Of course it would. Every tactical shooting course and every instructor on the topic of combat arms shows you how to make use of cover while engaging your adversary. Inside your home, think of what you have, or could that would serve as cover. Keep in mind that cover is not the same as concealment. Concealment just hides you from sight. Doors are concealment. Even the interior walls of your home only “conceal” you from the bad guys, but interior walls will not stop incoming bullets. Cover is defined as something that effectively blocks or deflects bullets.  

With your knowledge of the layout of your home, you should anticipate the likely point of entry for intruders, and you should choose a few defensive positions in your home.  Don’t count on the corners of walls, or doorways, as reliable cover. All popular handgun and rifle bullets, as well as buckshot or slugs from a shotgun, will go right through interior walls easily, with lethal velocity as they emerge on the other side.  The only parts of an interior wall that can stop or significantly slow down handgun bullets are the wooden wall studs– and there is only one stud per 16 inches of wall length in most walls. If the bullet hits any of the other 15 inches along that section of wall, it encounters only a couple layers of drywall. Bullets go through drywall like a knife through butter.

A bookcase whose shelves are filled with books and other paperwork can stop bullets. A refrigerator full of food and beverages will stop handgun bullets and buckshot from a shotgun, and some small, high velocity rifle bullets. The same applies to ovens, washers, and dryers– consider them “cover” as to most common handguns, but not for rifle rounds. Furniture is no good as cover. Wooden chairs and tables don’t usually stop even pistol bullets, and upholstered furniture like sofas and reclining chairs are only “concealment” if you duck behind them, not cover. Your bedroom dresser, with the drawers full of clothes, makes better cover than the mattress and box spring of your bed.

Conclusion

In times of peace and relative safety, certain security measures are more “worth it” than others. It all depends on the risks you and your home face, and how much peace of mind you would attain from having a fortified home with a good security system. Because conditions in our society could change rapidly, it may not be unreasonable to beef up your home now, when you have easy access to all the hardware at the local shopping center. In times of trouble, the roads may be more hazardous for travel and the hardware and home supply stores could be closed or sold out of the products you need. It’s better to prepare now.

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Quality Clothes

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I’m a great believer in purchasing quality kit although I do see benefits of buying cheaper goods where it is practical. The reduced costs has it own obviously benefits and in most cases there is no real difference.

One area that I do believe there is a difference is in clothing. Cheap clothing never seems […]

Mail Call

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This showed up in todays mail:

20170320_120014A few posts back someone mentioned in the comments that they thought it was a book i might find interesting and, surpise, they sent me a copy. Dang nice of ’em, if ya ask me. Much thanks. I’ll post about it when I get done reading it!

I suspect it will be a case of seeing in print a feeling or ideal I’ve always had but had never been able to fully articulate. We shall see.

How To Drill Your Own Well: A Step By Step Guide

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While many of us get our water from municipal water supplies, others rely on wells. In some instances, people have both. For instance, where I live, it is common for people to have municipal water for their house and a well for watering the grass or taking care of their livestock.

If you are in […]

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Link – Air Force Testing Anti-Drone Shotgun Shells

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Three left.
============
This is kinda interesting…….(and, yes, clever name)

The Mi-5 shells are anti-drone rounds and contain a five-foot wide capture net. When fired, five tethered segments spin and extend to create the net which travels towards the targeted drone, wraps around the frame, and brings it down, according to pcmag.com.

The only damage caused will be from the impact with the ground, which should offer a chance to inspect and collect evidence from the drone.

The types of drones these shells can target are classed as Category 1 & 2 by the Pentagon. They weigh up to 55 pounds and typically fly at heights of no more than 3,500 feet….

They must be fired from a rifled choke barrel. You can buy them on the web in three packs for $20 each.

I had no idea that there were specific ‘anti-drone’ shotgun shells. To my way of thinking, virtually any shotgun shell is ‘anti-drone’. You see someone floating a drone 80′ over your hot tub one evening, why screw around with specialty ammo? Whatever is sitting in the 870 will probably do the job just fine.

Also, I’ve yet to meet the shotgun shell that has a reach of 3500 feet. If such animals existed, we’d have a lot less geese.

But, it does segue into a larger issue – how do you secure your little slice ‘o heaven against such intrusions? I mean, all the systems I’ve seen…shotguns, jammers, trained eagles, etc, are all active systems – someone has to be directing the action at the time of intrusion. There needs to be some sort of passive ‘electric fence’ sort of preventative. I suppose you could set up some sort of powerful jamming system that is on all the ime and rotates through the most popular known frequencies for these sorts of things. You know, come to think of it, I’m kinda surprised this hasn’t come up on The Walking Dead yet.

I suppose the most logical, although not the easiest, method is to make sure that you don’t keep anything in the open that you wouldn’t want someone to see. It’s not my favorite option since, as I see it, I should be able to do whatever the heck i want on my property without having to worry about airborne peeping toms, but thats just not the world we live in.

Mike Rowe, of ‘Dirty Jobs’ fame and seemingly genuine great guy, had his own incident which he talked about in a podcast which turned into an impromptu advertisement for the Mossberg 500:

I might, just for giggles, pick up a tubes worth of these anti-drone shotgun shells just for the novelty value in rounding out my ‘specialty’ shotgun ammo selection. But, really, if I need to knock down something like that I’d imagine the cheap bulk shotgun ammo from WalMart will do just fine.

Organization

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You know, a big part of being a survivalist is simply being he manager of your own personal warehouse. Sure we have to learn skills, read a lot of books, practice various tasks, etc., but we also have to be curator to a stockpile of gear. Think about it, you keep gear in your vehicle, in your home, at work, at a friends house, buried at some middle-of-nowhere cache, etc, etc. And all that gear has information about it that needs to be kept – where is it, what is it, how much of it is there, when does it expire, etc, etc. It can be a major pain in the ass.

Someone I used to know turned me on to a program called Evernote. It runs on your desktop machine as well as on your phone/pad. I’ve found it to be exceptionally useful..more so than a simple spreasheet (although the data can be imported/exported through spreadsheets). Right about now there’s a contingent of people mentally screaming “No! Government sees everything on the interweb! They’ll know to come to your house for your guns and food!”.

Not worried. If you’re really worried about it, do your inventory management on your mobile device while youre snagging McDonalds free wifi. Or just don’t put your name and address in any of the files.

I find evernote most useful for tracking inventory of Deep Sleep stuff. For example, if a vendor emails me a deal on magazines I can pop into Evernote, bring up my ‘Mag’ notebook (or just search for ‘magazines’) and view my list of what I have on hand. Then I can make an informed decision about whether I need to sell the other kidney and buy more mags.

Another useful thing about Evernote is the ability to selectively share some of the data. For example, lets say you and your brother are planning on riding out the apocalypse together. You can have one notebook that is shared between the two of you. Say the two of you want to stock up on radio equipment. You might have a notebook named ‘Radio Gear’. You give him access to it. Now when he’s at some hamfest in Iowa he can check and see a live version of the list of gear and know what does or does not need to be purchased. Handy. Excellent for avoiding those awkward moments of “I didn’t know if we had [name of item] so I picked up three cases of it. I wish I’d know we already had plenty.”

Having said that, spreadsheets are still amazingly useful…especially if your Excel skills are good enough to take advantage of tables and conditional formatting. Again, it’s going to knock some people’s tinfoil hats off, but Excel is great for keeping track of guns. I also use it to keep track of the long term food storage… having those spreadsheets accessible to me was quite handy when I was up at the Mormon cannery a few weeks back. I immediately knoew what I did and did not need, which means whatever money I spent was spent wisely.

There’s that old saying that the first step to wisdom is knowing what you do not know. If you don’t know what you have vs. what you need to get then you’re not using your resources wisely. You’ll wind up with a hundred AA-batteries and five MagLites that take D-batteries. You can’t be your own quartermaster without knowing what the heck you do and do not have.

Between Evernote and Excel, the savvy survivalist can manage his resources wisely and make the most of their purchasing power. If you’re just going along with a clipboard and legal pad you are definitely doing yourself a disservice.

 

Do You Really Need That to Survive: Night Vision Devices

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There are essentially two types of night vision devices and it comes down to personal preferences and in some cases particular mission requirements when it comes time to choose. First, there is low-level light, which is naturally present and is enhanced by the device. Once enhanced an image is presented to you. Not only is […]

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The Website Has Changed. Here’s Why

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If you’ve followed this site and this is your first visit in some time, you’ll notice quite the change in look. Aside from the overall look and feel, I made a conscience decision to close down the online store.

The decision to close the online store really had nothing to do with sales, more the confliction with my core philosophy. Here I am the guy whom always admonishes the pervasiveness of gear hype and aggrandizing, yet I’m not behaving in a manner congruent with my beliefs. I’ve all but rid myself of all my outdoor gear, as an affront to the mainstream idea you need this widget or that gadget, yet here I am selling those very chachkies. Who was I kidding? Every time a sale would come through I would feel guilt. I was not being true to my beliefs; moreover, I was conceding to an ideology I do not believe in.

Christian Noble, of Master Woodsman, some time ago wrote, “I hate gear. Outside of doing what its supposed to do, it really gets in the way… physically, psychologically, and especially financially.”

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Those 10/22 mags…redux

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The bad news: no more of the Butler Creek Hot Lips magazines. :( All gone. Those of you who got some from me know you got a smoking deal, right?

The good news: same vendor just dropped a slew of the Steel Lip mags on me. Obviously they are a bit spendier than the Hot Lips, but very much worth it.

$110 gets you ten (10) of them, including Priority Mail shipping. Email me for a payable invoice. If you want, say, 25 or more, we can do a tiny bit better.

2017 Suburban Steader Update – Week 10

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Wow! Double digit weeks already.  Can you believe we’ve gone through ten weeks – seventy days – already in 2017? Tick, tock, tick, tock folks! Time marches on and you need to make sure you’re making the most of it.  With that thought in mind, come along and see what I accomplished this week on

Buy Experiences Not Things

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The concept of “buy experiences not things” is not new. Studies have been conducted and countless articles written about the idea.

I’ve just returned from the PNW (Pacific Northwest). The memories I bring back will last me a lifetime, but aside from my clothes and hygiene kit, I couldn’t tell you what else I packed to save my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I could tell you what I had, but I couldn’t detail on which day I wore or used what. More importantly, in no way did I ever feel anymore exhilarated and excited or my day improved because I wore or adorned a specific item. I couldn’t tell you what clothes my colleagues wore or what knives they used while we were together. But What I can tell you are the stories we shared, the laughs we had and the places we visited.

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Grandma’s Cures

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I’ve always been interested in Grandma’s cures from a prepping perspective. They have been handed down from a time where medicines were not available and people had to create their own medicines and cures using only what was available around them.

Modern medicine took that and expanded it significantly to make the medicines we have […]

Link – Mountain House pouches rated to 30 years

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According to Mountain House’s website, their pouch products, which previously were rated for around seven years, should be good significantly longer than that.

Mountain House makes a pretty good product, and some of their stuff is pretty good. I’m still a little annoyed with them over their snubbing small-time dealers several years back. But…personal feelings have no place intruding into logistics planning.

I have cases and cases of the Mountain House pouches in storage. Their ‘Pro-Pack’ stuff is just the ticket for stuffing into a 72-hour bag or caching in a bucket somewhere.

I usually figured the product would keep well past the seven year shelf life anyway, it’s nice to see a little confirmation of that.

 

H/T to The Metals Pimp for bring this to my attention.

One is none…

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20170303_111136Somewhere in a police station someone is saying “Wait..I thought you had the keys to the weapons locker.”

 

Local LMI ( you know who you are) hit me up for a smokin’ deal on some night-sighted G22’s in wonderful condition.

Leftovers

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Cleaning up around the shop and found half a case of the .22 magazines.
Guess I’ll open up the link again in case anyone needs more. I thought I’d got rid of all of them but apparently my housecleaning is so bad that a slew of .22 mags can wind up hiding from me for a month.

How to Control Rodents as Disease Vectors

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rats-in-a-trap

Brown rats may reach 16 inches in length, including tail

 

in survival settings, it’s been said that rats will do a better job of surviving than humans. Rats, mice, and other rodents are well-known causes of “zoonotic” infections.  A zoonotic disease is one that can be transmitted from animals to humans.  The animal in question may not have symptoms of the disease itself, but may serve as a “vector”; that is, it carries the disease to a human target.

Rats and mice belong to the order Rodentia, from the latin word rodere (“to gnaw”).  This order contains various families, including beavers, porcupines, squirrels, and gophers.  As you are unlikely to have an infestation of beavers in your home, we’ll concentrate on rats and mice. Ai pair of rats could produce 1,500 offspring in one year if they all reproduced. Most rats and mice that cause issues for humans come from the “Old World”.  These include:

Brown rats (rattus norvegicus): Also called Norway rats, although they didn’t originate there (Norway has no more rat issues than other countries). Brown rats may reach 16 inches (including the tail) and are good swimmers; the term “sewer rat” was coined for them.

Black rats (rattus rattus): Thought to have introduced the Plague to Europe through their fleas. The black rat, also called the “roof rat”, is slightly smaller than its brown cousin and is an excellent climber.

House mice (Mus musculus): Used to living in close quarters with humans, mice are “nibblers” and can contaminate an entire pantry by taking a few bites out of multiple food items. Mice and other rodents can also chew through electrical wiring, thereby constituting a fire hazard.

Rats and mice are some of the world’s most invasive species. Every year, a percentage of the world’s food supply is contaminated by their droppings, urine, and hair. These items, known as “fomites”, may contain disease-carrying organisms and, as such, render food unfit for human consumption.

hooded rats

Long-Evans hooded rats I worked with in labs help further medical research

Before I go further, let me tell our readers who have rats and mice as pets that they (the pets, not necessarily the owners) are generally clean, intelligent creatures.  I have had the privilege of working with them in university laboratories as a student.  Despite this, it is indisputable that the diseases they may carry are cause for concern.

MEDICAL ISSUES CAUSED BY RODENTS

From a medical perspective, what diseases might one contract from a rodent or its droppings?  These include:

Plague:  The Plague is caused by a bacterium known as Yersinia Pestis. It is carried by fleas. The black rat’s arrival in Europe in the Middle Ages (and with it, its fleas) caused pandemics of the disease that wiped out a third of the population. Even today, Plague exists in developing countries and, there have been hundreds of cases in the U.S. over the past three decades.

Hantavirus: Hantavirus, transmitted by mice in urine, droppings or saliva, causes a serious lung disease that may become fatal without the availability of intensive care.

Leptospirosis: Caused by consuming food contaminated by rat urine, Leptospirosis causes a flu-like syndrome that progresses to kidney and liver failure if untreated.  This disease can also be carried by certain livestock.

Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis Virus (LCMV): LCMV may be contracted from mice urine or droppings or from pets in contact with mice, such as hamsters.   It causes a flu-like syndrome that occasionally causes complications in the nervous system, especially in people with weakened immune systems or pregnant women.  LCMV may cause miscarriage or birth defects.

Salmonellosis: Infection with the bacteria Salmonella may occur as a result of handling of pet rats or mice, especially if they have had diarrhea.  It causes severe diarrheal disease in humans, and is one good reason for owners of rats and mice to wash their hands after handling.

Rat Bite Fever: Infection with the bacterium Strebtobacillus occurs from rat bites and scratches or from ingesting food or water contaminated with rat droppings. Abrupt onset of fevers, rashes, vomiting, and headaches are noted at first, with general deterioration afterwards. If untreated, there is a 10% death rate.

RODENT-PROOFING A RETREAT

homestead-cabin-pixabay

rodent-proofing

It’s simply common sense to take measures to prevent rodent infestation in the home and to eliminate those already there. Once an infestation has occurred, much more effort is required to dislodge these unwanted guests. Rodent-proofing a home requires careful evaluation for points of entry from the level of the foundation to the roofline.  This includes sewer lines, bathroom vents, pipes and gutters, doors and windows, and vegetation near concrete slabs.

Some rodent-proofing techniques for homes include:

  • Sealing cracks in building foundations, walls, siding, and roof joints with, for example, mesh hardware cloth or concrete patching. Rodents only need ¼ inch of opening to gnaw their way into your home. Metal mesh scouring pads or galvanized window screening (not steel wool, which quickly deteriorates) may be stuffed into crevices as a temporary solution.
  • Installing vent guards in bathroom or washer/dryer vents.
  • Placing barriers to prevent climbing rodents from going up pipes or gutters.
  • Trimming trees so that branches don’t come close to the roof.
  • Contacting the utility company for strategies to prevent rats from traveling along power lines to your house.
  • Preventing rodents, especially rats, from tunneling under the foundation by placing flat concrete pavers or gravel for the first 3 feet from the base of the house.

Rodent control also involves careful attention to both indoor and outdoor sanitation.  Here are some suggestions for the wise homeowner:

  • Never leave food or water out overnight. Keep your countertops clean and disinfected.
  • Breadboxes may seem old-fashioned, but they are there for a reason: To keep the bread away from rats and mice.
  • Never leave pet food outside, clean all bowls daily, whether they are used inside or out. Rodents love to eat dog and cat food.
  • Clean under kitchen appliances. Even a few crumbs will make a meal for a mouse or rat.
  • Keep garbage disposals and sinks clean with a cup of bleach once a month.
  • Never flush grease down the sink drain.
  • Keep toilet lids down until needed.
  • Store dry foods, even pet foods, in sealed containers at least 18 inches off the floor.
  • Construct barriers around birdhouses and bird-feeders to prevent seed from being accessible to rodents.
  • Remove any fruits or vegetables from your garden that you won’t use.
  • Keep garbage can lids tightly closed.
  • Keep the side and back yards free of debris that might serve as shelters.
  • Deny access to water by fixing leaky faucets.
  • Avoid putting animal products in your compost bin.

IDENTIFYING INFESTATIONS

Rodent droppings

rodent droppings (source: city of Berkeley, CA)

If you’re not sure that your home is currently rodent-free, you might consider:

  • Looking for any partially eaten food, gnawed containers, or nesting material.
  • Inspecting your home’s interior at night with a flashlight; look especially closely at the bases of walls, as rats and mice prefer to travel along them. Little used areas of the home should be especially targeted.
  • Looking for rodent droppings. Mice and rat defecate 50 times a day; if they are in your home, you should be able to find their feces along floorboards, in attic crawl spaces, and in basements.
  • Setting out a thin layer of flour or talcum powder by areas through which rats and mice might enter your home. Place some, as well, along floorboards; rodents prefer to travel along walls. The rodents will leave tracks which will prove their presence.
  • Having cats and dogs as “mousers”. They may or may not be efficient, but they usually will alert you when a rodent is near.
  • Listening for squeaking and scrabbling noises inside walls at night.
  • Check for unusual smells. If there are a lot of rats in your home, you may notice an odor from their urine.

ELIMINATING THE PROBLEM

rats as food

A method of rodent control not discussed in this article

Once you have made the determination that you have rats or mice in your home, it’s time to reduce the population.  It should be noted that long-term control will be difficult if you haven’t followed my earlier suggestions for indoor and outdoor sanitation.

There are myriad mouse and rat-traps on the market and a number of poisons available to kill rodent invaders. It makes more sense to use traps, in my opinion, as poisons may leave you with a bunch of dead, rotting animals inside your walls. The stench may last a month or more, and sometimes deodorizer is needed to be inserted through a hole drilled in the wall.

If you have a lot of rats in your yard, you shouldn’t use poisons, as they may be ingested by neighborhood pets or even children. You should, however, consider trapping boxes. These can be snap traps, electronic “zappers”, glue traps or even catch and release versions. Both rats and mice will readily go for a small amount of fresh peanut butter as bait. Advice to the soft-hearted: Brown rats, black rats, and house mice are not native wildlife; besides other damage, some will cause casualties among endangered songbird eggs and young if released.

Glue traps are popular but controversial.  They are better weapons against mice than rats. Unfortunately, they usually leave you with a live animal to kill.  If you must use them, euthanize the rodent by throwing the trap and animal into a bucket of water or by striking it with a stick several times just behind the head. Another disadvantage of the glue trap is that it loses effectiveness in dusty areas or in extreme temperatures.

Snap traps should always be placed in perpendicular fashion, with the bait side against the wall.  Never use just one trap: Place a number of them several feet apart in the rodent’s usual path. Traps can be fastened to pipes with wire or thick rubber bands.

When cleaning out a building that has been infested with rats or mice, specific safety precautions should be followed to avoid infection. First and foremost, remember that you should never handle a wild rodent, alive or dead, without disposable gloves. Masks should be worn when cleaning. Other steps to follow:

  • Open windows and doors before cleaning to allow it to air out, then leave for an hour.
  • Avoid raising dust if at all possible.
  • Steam-clean all carpeting and upholstery.
  • Clean all surfaces with a diluted bleach solution or other household disinfectant, soaking areas that held dead animals, nests, or droppings.
  • Wash all bedding linens, pillows, etc. and use the high heat setting on your dryer.
  • Eliminate any insulation material contaminated by rodent urine, feces, or nesting material
  • As ultraviolet light can kill viruses, place contaminated items that cannot be thrown away (such as important documents), outside in the sun for several hours. If this isn’t possible, “quarantine” the items for a week in a rodent-free area.  This should give enough time for viruses to be inactived.
  • Dispose of any contaminated items or dead rodents in a plastic bag, and then place them in an exterior garbage can.
  • Thoroughly wash hands after cleaning. Consider showering with soap and hot water.

We share our world with many other creatures. Some of these creatures invade our homes and can damage our possessions and, more importantly, our health. With careful attention to sanitation and the occasional surgical strike, we can eliminate unwanted guests and make our homes safe environments for our families.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary3

Dr. Alton

Learn more about animal-borne diseases and 150 other medical topics in the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, now available at Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams

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For me, going to bed early is a guarantee that I’m going to have dreams. So is eating anything with tomato sauce (such as..oh…baked ziti) before bed. Last night…both. No surprise I woke up at 3am after a few weird dreams. The first was short and simple enough – I was living at my childhood house in Brooklyn when a blackout takes place. I wind up standing guard in front of my favorite Korean grocery store with a plate carrier and a pistol grip Mossberg 500. It’s fairly uneventful except for the shotgun being rather stiff in its action and me thinking I need to remember to take some oil to the stupid thing.

At that point I woke up, saw it was 3am, and resigned myself to another long night of unwanted dreams.

Next dream was a zombie spectacular. It may have been the zombie apocalypse but the threat was other people wanting what I had. In my dream I was being led around the house by some bad guy who felt he had a right to everything I owned…very Negan-esque. I was wondering if I might be able to find a gun or two hidden around the house that I could use. I wound up sneaking a NAA minigun when he wasn’t looking, and five shots to the face later, problem solved. After that it was a series of people wandering up to the door and demanding entry to my shattered yet habitable home. Of course, in this dream things don’t go as planned….magazines are missing or unloaded, the wrong ammo is present, and there was a maddening sequence where I was trying to load a SIG MPX magazine in a hurry from a box of mixed loose 9mm and .40 cartridges.

About the only part of the dream worth dwelling on, for me, was the NAA revolver. I already have a tiny last ditch .22….a Beretta 21A…but the NAA is a good deal smaller. (Although, ergonomically, it is a nightmare to handle with it’s virtually non-existent grip and having to watch your fingers with the cylinder gap.)

Ah, dreams…..sometimes we can learn things from them, sometimes not. In this case I’m learning that I really need to not eat right before bed.

Cannery trip

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So I stopped in at the Mormon cannery the other day. Actually, if you want to be technical, its the Bishop’s Storehouse or Missoula Home Storage Center. What it actually is is a solid example of a group of Like Minded Individuals working together for a common benefit. Say what you will about the Mormons, they take care of their own and are not screwing around about it. Their logistics are amazing.

I hadn’t been up there in several years since they stopped the DIY dry-canning opportunities. Nowadays you can go up there, but instead of canning the stuff on your own you buy it already canned. It’s certainly more convenient, but I really liked the hanging out and interacting with other (somewhat) like-minded folks.

Anyway, I went up there not because I needed anything but because a friend of mine wanted to go and he’d never been there before. He wound up with a few hundred dollars of assorted goodies and all parties concerned were glad to help. The official line, as I understand it, is that the church offers the services and products of their food storage facility because they want to help their fellow man. Good on them. I’ve been told by people with a more pragmatic bent that the more accurate reason is because if they make the food storage available to their neighbors it lowers the odds of the neighbors forming an angry mob and coming to take their food storage.. I suspect there is an equal element of truth to both statements.

If you’ve never been to one of these places, it is an outstanding source to get some staple goods at unbeatable prices to round out your home storage. The place is almost exactly like Costco but smaller and with about 200% more Jesus. In all my trips there I never once had anyone put a religious spin into things except for starting the visit off with a quick prayer. No one tries to convert you, engage you in religious conversation, or anything like that. We all know why we’re there and we get it done.

20170225_090700 20170225_091102What they offer are very basic foodstuffs. Wheat, onions, carrots, sugar, pasta, dried apples, oats, etc. These are things that you could survive on by themselves if you absolutely had no choice, but they’re much better used in conjunction with other storage foodstuffs.

Anyway, it was a nice visit. I always feel a sense of belonging around the poeple there when I go…not because of some religious compatriotism but rather because I’m around other people who don’t think stuffing your basement full of food, ammo, and toiilet paper is a weird idea.

Generator Day

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Hmmm…it’s Generator Day here at Zeropolis. Drag the EU2000 out of its protective Hardigg case, set it up, run some high-draw appliance off it for a while to make sure eveything gets a workout, clean it up, and then back to storage for another month or two until the next Generator Day. The more I think about it, the more I think that this is going to be the year I finally get the stupid battery power supply done. It’s a remarkably simple plan brought to ruin by my unparalleled laziness. See, when the power goes out I have, really, only four power needs:

  • Freezer/refrigerator
  • Communications – running scanners, radios, internet, computer, etc.
  • Security – surveillance and associated systems
  • Lighting – It’d be nice to be able to not walk into the furniture

Now, except for the fridge/freezer issue, which is where the generator comes in, all the rest of that stuff can quite happily run on a DC battery supply.

The laptop runs on DC, as does the radios, scanners, and router. Same for the surveillance system. And the emergency LED lighting runs on DC as well. And since there is no need to have an inverter to turn the DC into AC, there isn’t the usual loss of energy accompanies such things. In short, if everything runs on DC I get more bang for my electrical buck than if I tried to run it on AC.

Ideally, what I’d like to set up is something where the batteries charge as needed off the house current, and when that fails they charge (albeit at a slower rate) off a couple of strategically placed solar panels. I then run the wires into a room where I plan on keeping all the critical systems. It doesn’t have to be a huge system…it just has to be big enough to run some fairly low-draw DC stuff for three or four days without a recharge.

Last time we had an outage here it lasted quite a while. I rather liked having cable TV and internet while the rest of the neighborhood was dark.

 

From Storage to Stovetop: BLACK BEANS

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Today Jodi goes over a few different options you may have for black beans in your food storage. If you store canned beans you probably don’t have a hard time with rotating them or knowing how to use them in your everyday cooking. However, for long term storage canned beans are not an ideal solution. They have a short shelf life so are more appropriate for keeping in your 3 month supply as opposed to being your entire supply of beans for a year. Even though we are specifically covering black beans here most of this would apply to pinto beans and navy beans as well.

Bean Conversions

1 can of beans = 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans
1/2 cup of dried beans = 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans
1 cup of instant beans = 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans
1 can of beans = 1/2 cup of dried beans or 1 cup of instant beans

How to Cook Dried Beans

Method 1: Crockpot
Ingredients:
9 cups of water
3 cups of dry black beans (rinsed)
1 onion halved (can use freeze-dried onion equivalent)
6-8 cloves of garlic or minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of salt
Optional:
1 jalapeno pepper diced (I used freeze-dried green chilies)

Directions:
Put all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on high for 8 hours. Eat!

Method 2: Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker
Add 5 cups of water in pressure cooker
Add spices ( 1 T. of cumin, 2 tsp. of minced garlic, 2 T. of dehydrated onions, 2 T of dry cilantro)
Add 2 cups of dry black beans

Cook on high pressure. Set pressure cooker for 30 minutes. After the pressure cooker beeps, do quick pressure release… and ENJOY how EASY THAT WAS! Also check out Julie’s delicious Brazilian Black Bean Recipe that also uses a pressure cooker.

Favorite Bean Recipes

Vegetarian White Bean Soup
Hearty Chili Meal-in-a-Jar
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Salsa, Chicken, and Black Bean Soup
Texas Caviar … aka Black Bean Salsa
Chicken Chili Meal-in-a-Jar
Enchilada Pie
Chicken Barley Chili
16 Bean Soup
White Bean Chicken Chili
Brazilian Black Beans


The post From Storage to Stovetop: BLACK BEANS appeared first on Food Storage Made Easy.

Joey “Jumped Off The Porch”

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I heard Joey is starting a Risu Kobushi Bujutsu (Squirrel Fist Combat) school somewhere in Idaho. maybe near Meridian where he lives. I bet he’ll give the “non certified” instructors in Idaho a run for their money. No blue guns or belts were used by this squirrel whilst kicking the bad guy’s ass. JCD American […]

Link – Customs seizes $2 million worth of ‘counterfeit’ Glock mags

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From Guns.com:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities in Savannah have held up a shipment of magazines from Asia they contend violate Glock’s trademark.

In a release from CBP, the agency advised they had impounded a shipment container headed to Tennessee at the Savannah Port of Entry containing 591 cartons of pistol magazines. Authorities determined the Glock trademark on the packaging was unauthorized and in violation of the registered trademark, which led to the shipment– valued at $2.1 million according to the MSRP– to be seized.

Guns, used cars and drugs, man: Know. Your. Dealer.

If you buy a knock off Glock mag you’re out, what?, $20? I am far more concerned about the Trijicon ACOG knockoffs the Chinese are pushing these days. You scrimp and save to buy a nice piece of gear and then you have to worry about weasels out there scamming you. That’s just bad karma right there.

Anyway, as far as the counterfeit Glock mags go, always use a little common sense…yo’re not going to buy brand new factory Glock mags for $8.99 ea. And you aren’t going to buy a genuine ACOG for $179.99.

Got an expensive piece of gear on your shopping list? Before you plunk down your money, go Google “how to detect counterfeit [name of item]”….ACOGs, Aimpoint, SureFire, etc, etc. Even stuff like Magpul gets cloned and sold ‘for the airsoft market’. Caveat emptor, kids.

More Mountain House

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A few local folks were asing me about ordering up some Moutnain House stuff for them. Might as well try and get as many people on board as possible to knock the shipping costs down. It’ll be very similar to the last one…there’ll be a selection of #10 cans, you order what you want but your order has to be divisible by six cans since thats how many fit in a shipping box. Mix/match just so long as it totals 6,12,18,24, or whatever. Timeframe? Last one didn’t give people as much lead time as they wanted and as a result some folks missed out, so lets say…March 31. I’ll work up a list of whats available, for how much, etc, and get it posted sometime in the next few days.

Mag stuff

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400 Butler Creek magazines later, I’m pretty much done with that little deal. My vendor shipped me one last case of 100 and then let me know that they are now officially “Out Of Stock”..at least, at the price they were at previously. I hope everyone who wanted some was able to get a bunch. If you missed out, hope is not lost…I’ve a few bundles of 12 left.

Speaking of mags, Friend Of The Blog(tm) Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living has a post up about magzines for his M1A. His experiences with USA-brand magazines is pretty much the same as mine and everyone else – they’re a useful way to carry spare ammo in the butt of your pistol, but not very good at actually feeding the ammo into the gun. I usually go for the OEM mag, or a respected military contract version, but if you are careful…and vet thoroughly…you can often find an aftermarket version that is just as good (or in rare cases, better) than the factory mag. The easiest and most common example are aluminum GI contract mags for the AR platform. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with one of the big contractors who cranked out hundreds of thousands  of the things. Not always, though….sometimes a contractor will screw the pooch and put out a craptacular run of mags…but it’s usually a sure bet to buy contract mags.

Mec-Gar has a great reputation and actually is the ‘factory’ in ‘factory magazine’ for many handgun makers. They are pretty much the only source I’ll use for my HiPower mags other than Browning and military contract. I’ve posted about this at length elsewhere, but the point is still valid – save money elsewhere.

Article – F*** You Money

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Years ago I was watching an interview with Joe Rogan and he mentioned that he was taking some jobs he normally wouldn’t because he was trying to build up a stash of “F*** You Money”. (And, for brevity’s sake, I’m just going to call it Screw You Money since I try to keep the harsh profanity to a minimum in the blog.)

He went on to explain that Screw You Money is the stash of money you have that gives you the freedom to not have to do something you don’t want to do. Imagine your boss is being a real jerk…you put up with it because you have a mortgage, a car payment, etc, etc. But, if you had, say, a million in cash in the bank and the boss starts riding you, you could just say “Screw you”, walk out, and have virtually zero negative impact on your life.

Here’s an article that sums it up very nicely.

F*** you money, as you may have guessed, is uncommitted cash sitting in your bank account which you can use to live on when you need to say “f*** you!” to an asshole boss, customer, or employer of any variety.

It’s really that simple. It’s the stash of cash you will have which will allow you to operate and live as a free human being rather than a slave. I’m not saying you will have to quit work and spend your days stroking your beard on the porch and reading philosophy (although you can do that if you wish), but it will give you the option to quite simply pack up your things and tell anybody you don’t like to get out of your face.

This is good for several obvious reasons.

If you carry this idea further, you could probably have a stash of “Screw You Guns”, or “Screw You Food”, etc, etc. A stash that lets you be completely indifferent to the situation involving the stashed items.

In the broader picture, who wouldn’t love to have the freedom to just drop what they are doing and walk away from a situation they don’t like? In some ways you don’t really need a stash as much as you need to minimize your obligations that force you stay in a situation you don’t like. For example, if you don’t have a house payment, don’t have a car payment, don’t have a student loan, and have a few months worth of money in the bank…well…then your Screw You Money stash doesn’t have to be that big. The less debt and obligations you have, the less you would need for your stash.

I’m a big fan of freedom so anything that enhances my freedom is going to get a thumbs up from me. Moral of the story: minimal debt, maximum cash and you have options that you may not have had otherwise.

Article – Major Blow to Obamacare Mandate: IRS Won’t Reject Tax Returns That Don’t Answer Health Insurance Question

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This is extremely interesting:

The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.

If this is true, and if I’m reading it right, (two big ‘if’s) you can choose not to have health insurance and you won”t be penalized because you won’t have to tell the .gov that you are without it. I gotta tell ya, if that is actually the case then that’s pretty much all the reason I needed to vote for him right there.

As always, you have to take these things with a grain of salt, but if it’s true then it is a very nice way to get around that onerous and, to me, authority-overstepping ‘mandate’ that you must have health insurance.

Five Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

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tooth_ache_remedy_featured

tooth_ache_painThe crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.  Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

In my previous article Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies I mentioned three herbal remedies (the other two were oil pulling and shiatsu / acupressure).  Of the three, only one related to herbs common in the wild in North America.  I chose to focus on Barberry (Berberis spp.),  though it is a representative of the group – the berberine-containing antimicrobials.  Others include Goldthread (Coptis spp.) and Oregon Grape Root (formerly Berberis but now Mahonia aquifolium).  These and the other berberine-containing antimicrobials are great toothache remedies, and will be discussed in detail below.  The other two remedies in that article, though “natural”, won’t be easily found in the North American forests.  Clove is from Indonesia, and besides it is typically the essential oil that is used for toothaches.  Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.) is largely of the tropics.  It can be grown here (quite easily, actually), but I do not know it in the wild of even the warm locations I have been to in North America.  So, what other toothache remedies do we have around?

Berberine-Containing Antimicrobials

Lately, I have been focusing on Barberry (Berberis spp.) in regards to this group.  It is a common invasive where I live (I harvest it regularly as part of maintaining my property in New York state).  It also has the genus name that is the source of the name “berberine” – for the constituent that gives the roots of these plants a yellow color and strong medicinal properties.  Plus, for many years Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been in the spotlight to the point that this native plant has been overharvested.  There are different virtues to the various berberine-containing species.  For instance, Goldenseal roots are fleshy and are therefore easier to harvest and process than the woody roots of the prickly shrub Barberry.  For this reason, Goldenseal is a good herb to grow if you don’t have it locally abundant in the wild.  In the bush, it is basically a matter of finding whatever species you can.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

oregon_grape_forageBarberry species are common in some areas (often invasive).  Once harvested, the inner bark can be scraped off the root.  It can be packed directly onto the tooth or into the cavity.  Oregon Grape Root, also being shrubby (though small), is similar (See image – the root bark is scraped, showing the yellow inner bark.  Also take note of the bowl full of edible berries.  These pictures were taken in Montana.)  Goldthread is so-named because the rhizomes are thin and string-like.  The Chinese species used in medicine is much more fleshy.  Goldenseal is fleshy and can be easily chopped for making tinctures or chewed on for direct treatment of toothache.  Chinese medicine also utilizes a species of Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) with berberine-containing roots.

Phellodendron is another berberine-containing herb commonly used in Chinese medicine.  Often the three Phellodendron (Huang Bai), Goldthread (Huang Lian), and Skullcap (Huang Qin) are used together, perhaps with other non-berberine-containing “yellows” like Astragalus.  Many websites claim that the medicinal actions of berberine are unverified.  (Who knows if it is really berberine that is the main active constituent anyway?  And certainly each herb has countless active chemical constituents.)  However, the berberine-containing herbs from all over the world make up one of the best examples of verification in herbal medicine from different parts of the world.  To the best of my knowledge, all cultures that had access to yellow, berberine-containing roots figured out their medicinal uses.

barberry_tooth_ache_remedyIn addition to a distinct and very useful antimicrobial activity, Barberry and these other herbs are very good for stimulating the liver and gallbladder (take note, for gallbladder attacks are another medical emergency worth preparing for and herbal remedies can be very useful).  They are the quintessential bitter, “heat-clearing” herbs.  The bitter taste indicates cooling, cleansing actions.  “Heat-clearing” refers to the antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.  These herbs are often the best antibiotics around.  However, because of their strong bitter taste people generally don’t want to use them.  Plus, as with all herbs of powerful effect, there are some cautions and contraindications.

Regarding products available for sale, tincture can be quite useful to treat toothaches.  Perhaps, ideal is powder.  Powdered Goldenseal is often available.  Because of overharvest of native wild stands it is generally best to buy powder made from (organically) cultivated roots rather than from wildcrafted stock.  I would discourage it altogether, except that it really does work like a charm.  Very good to know about.  The powder can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It is also possible to tuck dried material into the gums near the affected tooth.  For instance, a Chinatown apothecary would likely have slices of Huang Lian that could be placed right between the cheek and gum.  Whether from the wild or from the store “chewing” these roots (like tobacco – chewed a little and tucked into the cheek) is a great way to keep the medicine local.

Echinacea

echinacea_cone_flowerConeflower (Echinacea spp. – the genus name is also used as the common name) is one of the best-known herbal remedies, made famous right alongside Goldenseal in the simple American formula Echinacea / Goldenseal that used to be the quintessential herbal antibiotic formula.  Unfortunately, many of the Echinacea products on the market are basically worthless due to the fact that Echinacea has a short shelf life as a dried herb.  Best products, in general, are tinctures made from the fresh root, flower, or seed (the leaf and stem are less potent).  The dried material does hold up for a little while, but not long.  

If you happen to live in an area where Echinacea grows wild, or if you find some in a flower garden, you can simply pick it fresh to chew on it.  If the cone part of the flower is still fresh, you can cut into it to and remove the center for use.  You can also unearth a piece of the root.  It is easy to figure out which part is most potent by chewing on it.  Echinacea, like Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.), creates a distinct tingling sensation on the lips, tongue, or whatever part of your mouth it touches.  It also encourages saliva production.  The more you tingle and salvate, the better.  It indicates medicinal potency.  It also numbs the ache.  You can also compare different species by taste.  

Prickly Ash

zanthoxylum_americanumSpecies of Zanthoxylum also have a tendency to produce saliva and a sensation that helps relieve pain.  In this way, it is very much like Echinacea and Toothache Plant.  Sometimes, Zanthoxylum is known at “Toothache Tree”.  The name Prickly Ash is in reference to the pinnately compound leaves, which are similar to Ash (Fraxinus spp.).  Prickly Ash and Ash are not very closely related. There are many species.  I am not sure how all their medicinal properties compare,  If you live near them or are travelling through an area where they grow.  It is worth getting to know them.  You might even find a toothpick, as the name Prickly is not in vain!  The bark is the main part used.  It is available through herb shops as well as in the wild.

Calamus

acorus_calamus_sweet_flagCalamus, or Sweet Flag, (Acorus spp.) is another very interesting medicinal plant.  Like the berberine-containing herbs, the medicinal virtues of Calamus have been verified by many cultures all over the world.  It has been a major medicinal of European and Chinese herbal traditions and has been among the most revered herbs of Ayurveda (the ancient healing tradition of India) and Native American medicine.  Several Native tribes have used Calamus for toothaches.  Moerman (Native American Ethnobotany) lists that the Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Creek, Mahuna, Okanagan, Paiute, Saanich, Shoshoni, and Thomson used Calamus as a toothache remedy.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food 

Unfortunately, one of the main side-effects of Calamus that is relatively common is that it can cause or exacerbate heartburn.  This clashes a bit with the chewing method of administration I have been promoting for the treatment of toothache.  Perhaps, for mild toothaches a small amount of Calamus would be beneficial and tolerated by most.  But with higher doses, such as one with an intense toothache might be driven towards, there will be a higher rate of intolerance.  Try a little first.

Calamus has many benefits, mostly relating to its pungent, aromatic, and somewhat bitter flavor.  It stimulates digestion, opens the lungs, and benefits the mind.  Native people have traditionally used it to help with concentration and as a stimulant when travelling or for ceremonial dance.  Likewise, yogic and Taoist traditions have used Calamus for the mind.  It is a primary remedy for lung congestion.

The name Sweet Flag is because it looks similar to Iris (the leaves- not the flower), which can be called Blue Flag or Yellow Flag, etc. (according to the flower color).  “Sweet” because it smells nice (such as when walked on), not because it tastes sweet.  If you happen to walk on it, there is a good chance your feet will be wet, as it mostly grows in swampy conditions.  It is also called “Swamp Root”.

Spruce

spruce_tree_tooth_acheSpruce (Picea spp.) and its evergreen relatives are readily available toothache remedies.  I mention Spruce as the representative genus here because they tend to be pitchy and seemed to have been favored by Natives for toothaches.  The pitch is antimicrobial, pain relieving, and can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It can also be used to pack a cavity to fight infection and close the hole.  Cedar, Pine, Hemlock, Fir, and Juniper can likewise be used.  The needles and inner bark are also medicinal.     

Barberry Photo Courtesy of:

anneheathen

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10/22 mag pouches

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I had posted about this a while back, but the post got lost in The Great Server Migration, so I figured I’d bring the subject back up. As you know, I came into a *ahem* ‘large’ quantity of Ruger 10/22 magazines last month. As I was putting ’em away for the Deep Sleep, I came across a couple things:

20170212_12215620170212_122222 20170212_122336-120170212_122343-1

Back around 2014 I came across this post over at Jerking The Trigger, mentioning Triple Stitch Tactical. Up to that point I hadn’t seen any sort of magazine pouches for 10/22 mags. Some back-n-forth emails with the folks at TST wound up with me getting the pouches shown above. Nowadays, it’s a slightly different story…there are other sources for this sort of thing. However, I really liked the TST pouch, admired their willingness to work on custom stuff (for example, the single pouch in the picture is the second one the sent. They sent me one, I gave some suggested feedback, and the second one totally nailed what I was looking for.)

The chest rig has MOLLE backing and some other attachment points, so I’m not wearing it as a chest rig (unless we are somehow threatened as a species from a sudden overabundance of ground squirrels and rabbits). But it’s an exceptionally handy way to mount several mags on your belt or pack for when you’re out knocking down ‘gophers’ in someones alfalfa field.

Speaking of…still a few 10/22 mag sets left. Get ’em while they’re get-able.

Book Review: Building the Low Impact Roundhouse

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I really want to build a reciprocal roof pavilion at the land.  I think that it will give me lots of usable space, shade, and a great place to give classes and hang out. My problem is that information on building a roof like this is hard to find on the internet. I get that […]

The post Book Review: Building the Low Impact Roundhouse appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Book Review: Homes for Jubilee

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I got the book Homes for Jubilee because it was recommended by someone I trust in the arena of cement work and cement domes.  You may remember the mortar sprayer I got from mortarsprayer.com that I used to build the “Dome of Doom” aka the boulder looking dome I mashed up for the Doomsday Preppers […]

The post Book Review: Homes for Jubilee appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Career weasels

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I made the mistake of watching the news tonight with another pearl-clutching “expose” about those…gasp!…’ghost guns’. Never mind that you’ve been able to build your own gun with no serial numbers for quite some time….you just can’t sell it. But what really bumps my blood pressure into the stratosphere is seeing career-weasel Chucky Schumer wringing his hands and talking about that evil NRA.

I dunno about you, but in my AO it’s not a difficult task to find someone selling an AR for cash in the newspaper, at a gun show, or through a friend. Happens all the time. So if I can buy a paperless AR, completely built on a real receiver not made by some hack at his kitchen table, why wouldn’t I? But…I suppose some folks don’t have those options.

I wonder if Schumer and his fellow travelers will try to get things like upper receivers, barrels, etc. regulated in some manner. That’d be quite the trick. Did you know that in some countries it’s the barrel that is the controlled part? Yup. Go look at your Glock sometime…notice the serial number is on the framer, slide and barrel? That’s because somewhere on this planet there is a place where thats the controlled part….so Glock stamps em all.

==============

I had a couple people tell me “Oh, I’ll take some magazines!” and then I never heard from them again. SO….still about seven sets of 12 left.

 

 

I’d Rather be Caught Dead Than Caught with a Ferro Rod

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“I’d rather be caught dead than caught with a ferro rod!” That was the comment I made to a fellow instructor this past weekend. To him, however, it came as no surprise. He knows I have a rather oblique and critical view of the survival industry. “It’s not that I think the ferro rod doesn’t work,” I said. “It works well for what it is and is great bushcraft tool. The problem I have with it is it’s billing. It is billed as the ultimate emergency fire starting tool. It creates the mind set of the be all end all of fire starting when in reality it violates my basic tenet of survival—Can a five year old do it?”

He listened on in silence as we walked down the trail. I can only think he was thinking, “Oh boy, here goes Alan again on one of his wild rants”

“You know, Rob,” I said. “I’ve run thousands of students.

The post I’d Rather be Caught Dead Than Caught with a Ferro Rod appeared first on outdoor self reliance.

That ATFE white paper

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So, unless you’re under a rock, there’s the buzz about an ATFE “white paper” that hinted that the goons at ATFE might be coming around on the subject of suppressors and that armbrace-on-your-shoulder nonsense. Here’s a link.

Sounds good, right? Sounds too good, if ya ask me. I’m sorry for being a tinfloil-hat-clad conspiracy theorist but this just sounds too perfect. It just sounds too much like a wish list for me to believe that someone in a .gov agency is so willing to play our kinda ball.

But..I would like to be wrong about this.

Taking suppressors into a simple ‘firearms’-type category so you can by them over the counter would be very nice. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’d be nice nonetheless.
==============================

Ruger mags…a few left. Don’t be left out. All the cool kids are doin’ it.

Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family

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carrots

carrots_foragingApiaceae, is known as the Carrot Family, the Hemlock Family, and the Umbel Family (after the old name “Umbelliferae”).  It is one of the most important botanical families for the survivalist to become familiar with.  Its diversity and importance are implied with common names for the family ranging from one of the world’s most important vegetables, the Carrot (Daucus carota), to one of the most famous and deadly poisons, Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  With medicinals like Angelica (Angelica spp.) and Osha (Bear Root, Ligusticum spp.), which have been revered around the world since the earliest records of herbal medicine, this plant family seems to have it all.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

This article follows Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family in a blog series on poisonous plants that began with 5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know.  The initial article outlined some basics of five major plant families with poisonous plants.  The article on Poison Ivy included some basics on botany and plant names, in addition to the discussion of the Poison Ivy family.  Here we will focus on Apiaceae.

Umbels & Aromatic Roots

umbel_flower_forageA characteristic of Apiaceae is the flowers being arranged in umbels, which is the source of an older name for the family- Umbelliferae.  The umbel flower is umbrella shaped, or bowl shaped, partially due to the divisions of the flower-top (the pedicels) arising from a single point.  The pedicels therefore, are like the ribs of an (upside-down) umbrella.  Many other flower-tops appear to be umbels, but are supported by a branching structure that does not stem from a single point (Yarrow of the Daisy Family, Elder and Viburnum of the Muskroot Family, and others).  Another distinct tendency in Apiaceae is aromatic roots.  Sometimes people will attempt to explain that Wild Carrot roots can be distinguished from Poison Hemlock and others because they smell like Carrots, but this is far too subjective.  Because it is standard that members of this family have aromatic roots, including poisonous species, many of them could be said to “smell like Carrots” in that they are similarly aromatic.

Read Also: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Apiaceae members also tend to have divided leaves.  There are many technical terms used to describe leaves and their arrangements on plants.  Plants in the Carrot Family tend to have leaves that are lacey or otherwise finely or not so finely divided.  The leaves of Carrots and Parsley (another genus that is used to name the family) are characteristic. Celery is also in Apiaceae.  It is a good example of another tendency in the family to have the visible vascular strands (“strings”) in the stem.

Categories of Plants in Apiaceae

As usual with nature, it is difficult organize Apiaceae by category since in reality there is much more of a spectrum (from delicious and nourishing to extremely toxic).  Our human minds, however, like categories,

The primary categories of plants in Apiaceae are:

Edibles

Medicinals

Toxic Medicinals

Fatally Poisonous

These oversimplified categories are complicated by plants like Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which is a well-known edible (at least used to be), but also known to cause rashes in sensitive people upon contacting the leaves of the wild plants.

Edible Members of the Carrot Family

One of the world’s best-known vegetables is the Carrot, Daucus carota, which is the domestic variety of the Wild Carrot, which is also known as Queen-Anne’s-Lace.  The root is usually much smaller than the domestic version, white in color, and quite fibrous, but it is indeed a Carrot.

Biscuit Roots (Lomatium spp.) were top foods of the northwest Natives.  I have never tried them, but apparently their starchy roots are good food.  The genus is certainly worth learning about for those living in the Northwest or travelling through (there are notable medicinal species as well), but there are concerns regarding population decline so learning about Biscuit Roots is more in preparation for emergency survival than for expanding your regular diet.

Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is also known as Goutweed, for its medicinal effect.  It is a common groundcover that was introduced from Europe.  It often spreads “uncontrollably” in landscapes and can be found persisting on old home sites.  It is cooked as a spring green, or potherb, when it can help rid the body of the uric acid build-up after a heavy meat diet in winter.

Though so many edibles and many culinary herbs belong to the Carrot (or Parsley) Family, you should approach this group with caution.  As there are many poisonous species.  Culinary herbs in the group include Parsley (Petroselenium crispum), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum – the seed is Coriander), and Dill (Anethum graveolens).  

Medicinal Members of the Carrot Family

carrots_stackedOf course, all members of the Carrot family are medicinal, just as it can be argued that every plant is medicinal.  There are many home-remedies that utilize Carrots.  Plus the greens and seeds have medicinal uses.  (While you could argue that it is not “medicinal” one of the best-known uses for Wild Carrot is as a morning after contraceptive).  There are also the toxic medicinals, which are described below, that are too poisonous for home-care use.  Here, we will look at the well-known remedies from the Carrot family.  It is an all-star line up.  

Osha and its relatives (Ligusticum spp.) are top medicinals.  A couple species are known to Chinese medicine and used extensively.  Garden Lovage is well-known to the western world, though somewhat forgotten.  And the Osha of the Rocky Mountains it one of our Nation’s most famous medicinals.  In fact, Osha is one of the few herbs that I have come to depend on that is not available in the wild or even in the garden of my area.  Osha grows in high elevations, usually over 9,000 feet.  It has many medicinal uses but is best known as an antimicrobial for lung and respiratory infections.  The Navajo call it Bear Root and consider it a cure-all for lung ailments.  It works remarkably fast, especially if used at the onset of a cold.  I like to chew the root or hold it in my cheek like chewing tobacco.  Once, when harvesting Osha with a friend in Colorado just after he had harvested his honey, we filled jars with roots and topped them with the fresh honey.  A very delicious way to take Osha indeed!  The roots softened in the honey and were then easy to chew.  Plus, the honey was infused with Osha.

dong_quiAngelica is a very important genus of medicinal herbs and worthy of its own article.  In fact, I have already written a paper on AngelicaBut that too only scratches the surface.  With a name like Angelica, its got to be good – or at least it was revered at some point.  Angelica archangelica is the main European species known to medicine.  It has been used for respiratory, digestive, and circulatory disorders, among others.  It is a common ingredient in “digestive bitters” as it is a quintessential aromatic bitter.  Bitter herbs are bitter (not just bad tasting, but bitter, like Dandelion).  Aromatic bitters are also pungent or are predominantly pungent but are similar medicinally to bitter herbs, particularly in that they benefit digestion.  The pungent aromatics are also generally good for moving mucus and blood, which is largely how Angelica species are employed in medicine.  The famous Dong Quai (A. sinensis) is a top herb in Chinese medicine for moving blood (treating blood stagnation) and nourishing blood (treating anemia and similar deficiencies).  It is especially used to treat menstrual disorders and injuries.   

Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium spp.) have been used for snake bites and as an antidote to poisons.  

Toxic Medicinals in the Carrot Family

Angelica_venenosaMany Angelica species belong in this category, as they are far too toxic to use for the uninitiated.  In fact, even those species above can have properties that are too strong and inappropriate at times, such as because of blood-thinning properties.  Most, if not all, Angelica species are blood thinning, especially when fresh.  However, they are most commonly used dried and because they are so commonly known and used I included them above. (The point about plants being more toxic when fresh is important.  Especially since many herbs in common use are mostly or only available dried, but when you are lost in the bush or otherwise seeking out herbs in an outdoors or end-times emergency you might only have access to fresh plant material.)

Deadly Angelica (A. venenosa) has poisonous properties (as you might expect from the name), yet the Iroquois employed it in poultices in the treatment of injuries.  Another, Poison Angelica (A. lineariloba) was used by the Paiute for pneumonia and spitting up of blood.  

See Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Sanicle species (Sanicula spp.) have some toxic properties, or some toxic species belong to the genus.  On the other hand, they were also used as poison antidote and for snake bites.  They are also known as Snakeroots (like Echinacea and Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga or Actaea).  It is not uncommon that snake bite remedies have some toxic properties.

Fatally Poisonous Members of the Carrot Family

david_-_the_death_of_socratesOne of the most famous poisonous plants and perhaps the most famous of Apiaceae is Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  It is the plant that killed Socrates.  Water Hemlocks (Cicuta spp.) are also very poisonous.  Cicuta douglasii has been called the most deadly plant in North America. Though they too undoubtedly have medicinal uses, they should be considered far too toxic to mess with.  It is said that a single bite of Poison Hemlock is enough to kill an adult man.  It is these deadly poisonous species that make this family dangerous.  Study carefully.

The common name Hemlock is shared with the basically non-toxic member of the Pine Family.  Herein lies the importance of scientific names.  Mentioning Hemlock often causes eyes to open wide in surprise, so well known is Hemlock as a poison.  When scientific names are used alongside the common, we can easily avoid confusion.  Conium and Cicuta belong to Apiaceae, while Tsuga belongs to Pinaceae.

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Radiation’s Effects And Materials To Mitigate Them

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Re-Post from MDSA While in conversation with a friend the other night, he mentioned the two previous posts that were published on this blog, and asked if more topics could be discussed. I advised him that there were more in the works, and it was just time constraints that limited their release. Today we will talk […]

Winter…after a fashion

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Two weeks ago, -10 degrees ( -23C for those of you in countries that never landed a man on the moon) and snow. Today? Sunny and 47 degrees (8c for those of you….)

It’s gonna be wet out there today. Last night it was four wheel drive and icy roads, today it’s short sleeves and sunglasses. If this stuff freezes tonight it’s going to be tricky.

Clearly, Putin’s been dinkin’ with the weather control machine again.

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Eight bundles left. People who have gotten theirs seem rather pleased.

Things to Consider When Packing Your Survival Kit

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Before you even start to stuff your pack with the supplies, gear and materials you think you need to survive you will need some wilderness survival training/knowledge, and be able to exercise good judgment first.

Furthermore, you must be able to accept the fact that you will make mistakes, which brings us to having and needing, the ability to adapt when your first set of plans has gone off the rails because of a mistake made or due to circumstances beyond your control.

If you cannot adapt, or refuse to adapt because of stubbornness, pride or from the lack of knowledge or training then you are setting yourself up for failure, and failure at this level can mean death. No gear in the world will save you from a mistake, a mistake you may be reluctant to admit. Failure to admit you made a mistake, or had overestimated your own abilities means you are not correcting the problem.

Not everything should go in your pack. There are certain core survival tools and materials that should be carried in your pocket or lashed to your body in some form or fashion. A pack can be lost if you fall in a river or stream, or are caught in an avalanche. The pack can be lost if you take a tumble and a strap or harness breaks and then your survival gear is over the cliff and riding the rapids toward the warm waters of the Gulf.

Anything can happen, so it is important that you have a compass, a map that is waterproofed, fire starting materials in a waterproof container, communication devices, knife, cordage, thermal blanket (s), and water purification pills in pockets or hooked to your belt. Also on your belt, you should have a full metal canteen and a small quality flashlight.  A metal canteen means you have a metal container for collection and purification of drinking water.

Failure to do your research can be deadly. We have stated this time and again. You must, to the best of your ability, know the area in which you are traveling, hiking, camping, or hunting. Know the terrain, likely weather conditions, wildlife, insects, and reptiles you may encounter, as well as flash floods and fire danger.

Some might say, “Well I had no idea I would be in such and such a place”. Well, how could you not know? You started out from somewhere with a destination in mind. You want to go hiking, so you know where you want to hike, the same goes for camping and hunting, you start from somewhere and end up somewhere and the areas in between, as well as the destination should be well researched.

You have to know the route and likely dangers, resources and so forth before you start out. Planning an outdoor adventure is not a random thing where you start out driving with no destination in mind and then decide a path through the underbrush looks good for hiking, or simply drive aimlessly until you find a spot that looks good for camping or hiking. These things have to be planned. Impulsiveness when it comes to the wilderness is deadly. Mother Nature is unforgiving of those that do not show the proper respect and of those that lack a certain level of expertise or common sense.

Gear, gizmos, and gadgets are fun to play with but do you need all of it. Batteries die, and gadgets malfunction, so do not stake your life on either one. If you cannot read a compass and a map, you had better stay home and play in the tree house out back.

Electronics can be a lifesaver in a crisis, but if they don’t work, well, do you die then? If they can save your life and they don’t work, you have problems. Carry your gadgets, but have a map and compass, as well, and make sure you know exactly how to read both.

There is no magic formula when it comes to your backpack weight. The 25 percent of your body weight is simply a general rule. You may be able to carry more or maybe even less comfortably. Remember, out on the trail is vastly different from hiking up and down the sidewalk in front of your house to see how much you can carry.

You should know immediately if you can handle the weight. If you know you can’t, then do not convince yourself things will change once you get out on the trail. Things will change but not for the better.

What weight you can handle depends on many things, so a subjective number you read on a chart somewhere about body weight to pack ratio, means nothing, the reality of your situation is what matters.

The post Things to Consider When Packing Your Survival Kit appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Cool stuff

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First, I’ve about a dozen of the twelve-for-$104-10/22-magazine bundles left. When they gone, they be gone.

Second, how utterly cool is this? I’ve seen a few prepackaged survival kits from the Cold War but I’ve never seen one packaged in a tin like this. I can’t help but think that tin was the plastic 5-gallon-bucket of its day. Fascinating.

il_570xN.431805371_dihkAnd speaking of other cool things, I found this on a Tumblr link:

tumblr_oks82iWj9y1u8wbhro1_1280Is that gorgeous or what? I have a Ruger Scout Rifle with a stock that is eerily identical to that. I’m not sure about the practicality of the Scout Rifle, but I admire the logic that goes into making the gear selections necessary to meet the ‘Scout’ guidelines. The SMLE is an interesting choice, but offers pretty much everything you need…magazine fed, stripper clip guide, rugged action, etc. The cartridge is a tad funky, but if that’s a deal breaker there are always Ishapore .308’s to use as a platform. Really, though, I have a Scout Rifle and I just can’t really put my finger on what I would use it for.

 

Article – Walmart just undercut Amazon’s most valuable perk

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Still a few dozen left. Ya snooze, ya lose.
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This may be one of the cooler things to happen to preparedness in a while…

(Reuters)
Walmart just made a move that should terrify Amazon.

Starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., Walmart will offer free two-day shipping on 2 million items in orders that are more than $35.

All Walmart customers will qualify for the free two-day shipping. There are no fees, and no enrollment in membership programs is required.

“We upped the ante here and decided not to charge people for it,” Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart US e-commerce, said on a call with reporters Monday.

In comparison, Amazon offers free two-day shipping only to members of its Prime program, who pay $99 annually for membership.

Other Amazon users can qualify for free shipping — but without the two-day delivery — on orders of $49 or more.

….

Two million of the 30 million products carried on Walmart’s website will be available for two-day shipping. Those items will include Walmart’s most popular products, including baby necessities, pet products, foods like cereal and peanut butter, cleaning supplies, electronics, and toys, the company said.

Free shipping at Walmart prices on certain goods means that I might have a new source for case-lots of various foodstuffs and supplies. Honestly, Im not sure WalMart can afford to do this for very long, but while it’s going on I’ll definitely be seeing if its something I can take advantage of. Cases of canned goods, pasta, sauces, etc, etc delivered to my AO would be rather handy…especially if it gives me access to items not normally in my local WallyWorld.

2017 Threat Assessment-James W Rawles

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James Wesley Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com joins me today. We discuss potential threats for 2017 and remind listeners not to get complacent.

Watch through the eyes of Noah Parker as the world descends into chaos, a global empire takes shape, ancient writings are fulfilled and the last days fall upon the once great United States of America. The Days of Noah is now available as a complete box set for Kindle.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at ReadyMadeResources.com!

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Cati Armor offers affordable body armor including level III trauma plates made of AR-500 steel which can endure multiple rounds from pistols and rifles up to 7.62 NATO. Plates are available with Rhino Linings coating to reduce spall.

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I use JM Bullion because they have the lowest over-spot price of any dealer I have found for silver and gold bullion. JM Bullion now offers free shipping on every order!

The post 2017 Threat Assessment-James W Rawles appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Article – Judge: Federal firearms regulations trump Kansas gun law

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state — a ruling that casts doubt on the legality of similar laws passed in nine states across the nation.

The decision handed down by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten allows federal firearms charges against Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler to stand. The ruling clears the way for their sentencing on Monday.

Jurors in November returned eight guilty verdicts against Cox, the owner of Tough Guys gun store in Chanute, under the National Firearms Act for illegally making and marketing unregistered firearms, including a short-barreled rifle and gun silencers. Kettler was found guilty on one count of possession of an unregistered silencer.

The Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act, which passed in 2013, says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of Kansas are exempt from federal gun control laws. Kansas modeled its law on a Montana law that an appeals court has found to be invalid, according to court filings.

You know, if the feds feel that enforcing federal law is strictly their domain, and come down on states when they try to enforce immigration law, then it seems it should cut both ways and that states can simply choose to ignore enforcing federal NFA laws.

Exploring the High Desert

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I knew with all the rains the high desert and it’s rolling hills would be turning beautiful shades of green. And yesterday I had the opportunity to explore an area of the high desert I’ve been meaning to get to for some time.

The drive up to Agua Dulce was uneventful, other than the winds attempting to blow my vehicle sideways. The winds are fairly predictable, however. Mornings and afternoons are typically much more windy as the sun’s rays warm up the air hovering just above the earth’s surface. The warming air then rises and is displaced by the cooler air that sits higher in the atmosphere. This is what causes the winds. As late afternoon approaches and the temperatures drop, the sun no longer warms up the air as it did earlier in the day and their is no warm air to rise causing winds. [I digress]

As I drove to my destination, just a coupe of miles from Vasquez Rocks,

The post Exploring the High Desert appeared first on outdoor self reliance.

Authority of the States-Rep. Dan Itse

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New Hampshire State Representative Dan Itse is back for the second half of our interview. We discuss the power granted to the states by the Constitution. To learn more, get his book, States Have Powers.

Watch through the eyes of Noah Parker as the world descends into chaos, a global empire takes shape, ancient writings are fulfilled and the last days fall upon the once great United States of America. The Days of Noah is now available as a complete box set for Kindle.

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Trading Post in the Woods is ran by veteran crisis responders who know how important it is to be prepared. They specialize in comprehensive natural survival remedy kits, preparedness and homesteading supplies as well as skills training. Visit them online today at TradingPostInTheWoods.com.

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CampingSurvival.com has all of your preparedness needs including; bug out bags, long term food storage, water filters, gas masks, and first aid kits. Use coupon code PREPPERRECON to get 5% off your entire order at Camping Survival.

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The dollar has lost over 90% of its purchasing power since 1971. Silver, on the other hand, has proved to be a very stable form of wealth preservation over the years. Silver.com offers fantastic prices on silver and gold. Check out Silver.com today.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community, because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at ReadyMadeResources.com!

Happy Prepping!

Mark

The post Authority of the States-Rep. Dan Itse appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Henbit, Plant of the Week

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We’re slightly over a month into Winter and already, here in Southern California, we are seeing wild greens popping up. And one of the most noticeable early bloomers, amongst many, is henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). And certainly yesterday, during my wild plants class, this little mint was making its appearance in a grand way. It was growing so rampant, it was difficult getting around it without trampling it. Fortunately, this abundance just provided more pickings for a wild green salad.
Henbit often goes unnoticed, as it blends into the background of growing grasses and other wild plants. But this small low growing European native is found throughout North America and its mild sweet taste makes a welcome addition to any wild salad. And once recognized, you will notice this plant growing in a lot of places you may frequent. It prefers light dry soil as well as cultivated soil. It is often found along roadsides, in pastures, yards and gardens. In my case, it grows rampant in my backyard, but is just as easily found in areas I hike.

Henbit is in the mint family and shares the typical mint characteristics—square stem and opposite leaves. It is often confused for purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum), but is indeed different.

The post Henbit, Plant of the Week appeared first on outdoor self reliance.

Oh, the irony

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Democrats are upset because a Republican President is banning non-citizens from entering the country and carrying on like it’s some tremendous human rights violation, meanwhile they seem to conveniently forget the Democrat President who actually rounded up American citizens of a particular ethnicity and stuffed them into concentration* camps.

 

Grattitude

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The Metals Pimp dropped off a shiny Silver Eagle the other day saying it was from a customer who told him to send one my way.

This happens from time to time. And I am always tickled when it does.

So, unknown benefactor, when the apocalypse comes and all the paper money is worthless, I shall drink a toast to your generosity as I purchase home-brewed brain eraser to ease my mind after a long day of hanging looters and shooting cannibal mutants. And lap dances. There’ll definitely be a lap dance or two. Thank you and salut!

Post-election surplus

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Vendors expecting a Hillary buying panic cranked up production and….now have a lot of inventory they need to convert to cash. Thats why we see those sub-$400 AR’s and $30 stripped lowers. One of my vendors just dumped a bunch of Butler Creek 10/22 Hot Lips Clear-color 25-rd mags in my lap. If anyone wants some, theyre $104/12 ($8.66 Ea.), inc. shipping. Any interest or questions, hit me up in email, not comments…

Article – Montana AG strikes Missoula’s expanded background check ordinance

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I pretty much predicted this would happen.

“Plainly interpreted, the Montana Legislature has prohibited all forms of local government from exercising any regulatory power over the purchase, sale or transfer of firearms,” wrote Fox, who more than a year before the ordinance was passed warned it “likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

The mandated expansion of background checks — to include virtually all gun transfers including private sales — was proposed in Montana’s second-largest city in 2015. It drew almost immediate fire from critics including gun rights groups and two out of three of Montana’s congressional delegates, but, with the support of gun control advocates, passed last September in an 8-4 vote.

Our morbidly obese, and terminally leftist, alcoholic mayor somehow decided that this was a ting that needed to be done. The biggest and oldest gun show in the state happens here every summer and it would have been a tremendous problem if this stupid thing to stand.

Experience is a harsh instructor, but some will learn at the hands of no other.

Meat tray

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Ah, the Meat Tray. How I love thee….it’s like a little menagerie of different animals. Well, different dead, cleaned, and butchered animals. Todays flavors: chicken, bacon, beef, and pork. Something for everyone, a carne tonight!

20170116_121441But, as much as we’d like it to be otherwise, meat has to be packaged properly if it’s gonna go take the cryo-nap. Freezer burn (which, really, is more a form of desiccation and dehydration [mummification, actually]) is reduced when you vacuum seal these morsels, so…let’s do that:

20170116_122636And then half goes into the deep freezer as a hedge against the uncertain future, and the other half goes in the upstairs freezer for eventual ‘normal’ use. Does this sort of thing pay off? Well, years back I wound up with around 70# of ground beef at $1.49/#… that went into the deep freeze and by the time it was finally all consumed, that same ground beef was selling for 2.99/#. I go into my locl grocery store and I am aghast to see it selling for around four bucks these days. So, yes, if you can buy it cheap and stack it deep you’re going to come out ahead in the long run.

Prepping For a Post-Collapse Government- Rep. Dan Itse

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New Hampshire State Representative Dan Itse is on the show today to discuss what we need to do to prepare for a post-collapse government. To learn more, get his book, States Have Powers.

Watch through the eyes of Noah Parker as the world descends into chaos, a global empire takes shape, ancient writings are fulfilled and the last days fall upon the once great United States of America. The Days of Noah is now available as a complete box set for Kindle.

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Trading Post in the Woods is ran by veteran crisis responders who know how important it is to be prepared. They specialize in comprehensive natural survival remedy kits, preparedness and homesteading supplies as well as skills training. Visit them online today at TradingPostInTheWoods.com.

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CampingSurvival.com has all of your preparedness needs including; bug out bags, long term food storage, water filters, gas masks, and first aid kits. Use coupon code PREPPERRECON to get 5% off your entire order at Camping Survival.

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The dollar has lost over 90% of its purchasing power since 1971. Silver, on the other hand, has proved to be a very stable form of wealth preservation over the years. Silver.com offers fantastic prices on silver and gold. Check out Silver.com today.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community, because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at ReadyMadeResources.com!

Happy Prepping!

Mark

The post Prepping For a Post-Collapse Government- Rep. Dan Itse appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Survival Gear Review: LaCrosse NOAA Weather Radio

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NOAA_Weather_Radio_2There are pieces of emergency gear that preppers and survivalists simply have to have.  A multi-functional, multi-powered weather radio is one of them.  One of these radios should be extremely high on your “to buy” list if you do not have one now.  It needs to be kept easy to access and ready to go out the door, too. Undoubtedly there are numerous such weather radios on the market and I have had two or three over the years that all eventually died.  I have an old model sold by L.L.Bean that still works but the station dial is so crude it is difficult to zero in on a station with clear reception.  It also eats batteries like popcorn. Enter an intuitive, energy efficient rebuttal to older inefficient radios: the LaCrosse Model 810.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

This LaCrosse model has it all.  In fact its features are darn near too many to mention, but here is a rundown on the essentials. First of all, the radio is small and compact.  Out of the package it appears to be well made in a black matte finish in ABS plastic.  The grill or speaker front is silver matte chromed.  Had it been bright chrome, it could have been used as a signal function.  The ‘control’ panel is centered on the front with simple, intuitive buttons to manage all the radio’s functions.

The LaCrosse Model 810

NOAA_Weather_RadioTo begin activation of the LaCrosse 810, pull the battery seal out of the back to activate the LIR123A recharge battery to initially power up the unit.  Backup power sources also include a built-in solar panel on top that can recharge the radio in 10-12 hours of sunlight.  Also available is a hand crank on the back to recharge the unit.  About one minute of cranking gives 30 minutes of radio juice to hear anything that is being broadcasted.

Related: Surviving Alone

A red charging crank rate light will shine as you crank.  It will turn green when fully charged.  As you crank, you can get into a sort of rhythm, but one minute of cranking seems an eternity.  It occurred to me during the process what a great job for the kids to do.  

The radio itself can be set to AM-FM for standard stations for music, news, and local weather.  One more button push switches the radio to the NOAA weather bands for fully detailed weather reports from an official government weather source.  The LaCrosse 810 picks up seven weather band frequencies, so something should be available and live no matter where you are.  

Other Features

NOAA_Weather_Radio_4Besides the more or less regular features of a weather radio, the 810 unit also has a built-in LED flashlight with focused fresnal lens, a blue back light flashes red during weather alerts around the digital read out panel, a digital station tuner, volume buttons, and a digital clock reading AM-PM time readouts. There are two stainless steel bars on the ends of the front panel which go through the case to reinforce the internal framework of the radio to make it more durable.  On the side is a telescoping antenna that can be pulled out and rotated to isolate the best radio reception.  There is also a 3.5 mm earphone jack if you want to listen via headphones.  

Read Also: Survival Radio: What Will Work 

Also built into this unit is a mini-USB port that can be used to charge the radio via a computer or any other USB power source.  Users can also utilize the hand crank feature to charge a phone or other external mobile device. The LaCrosse NOAA Weather Radio is very simple to self-use, but directions are printed on the bottom of the radio in case the paper instructions become lost.  The included directions come printed in three languages, English, Spanish, and French.  I guess the Russians will have to hack in.  

As a final footnote, I plan to find some kind of soft-sided slip case or bag to store the LaCrosse radio to offer extra shock protection and safety from any outside elements.  For now the radio sits on my work desk ready for the next weather event or to listen to talk radio or music.  The LaCrosse 810 retails for just under $50 and is well worth the investment.

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Cracking open a ten-year-old bucket of food

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School starts up again this week, so I need to start doing breakfast. Since I’m incredibly lazy, I want something easy and fast. Cold pizza is my #1 choice, but who can afford that? I figured I’d just have instant oatmeal. Turns out, my pantry was devoid of the stuff. Musta used it all up last semester. Hmm. Well, let’s rotate some out of storage.

Sometime around 2006 I ran into a really nice sale on instant oatmeal.* As I recall it was a package of ten for a buck. Hey, for brand-name instant oatmeal, why not? So I picked up a bunch. As I’m sure you are familiar with, instant oatmeal is usually packaged in paper pouches – not the best sort of thing for long-term storage. As always, I turned to my trusty vacuum sealer. Sealed up ten pouches to a bag, sealed ’em up in a bucket, and tucked ’em away. Until today. Let’s see what we got.

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Inspection tag says this was last inspected in 2011. I need to be a tad more diligent about this sort of thing. Every other year should be good. Surface of the bucket is a bit dusty, but that’s to be expected.

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Spin off the Gamma Seal lid and the contents are clean and dry…as expected.

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A dozen sealed ‘bricks’ of packages of instant oatmeal. Awaiting the day a hot breakfast is needed before a full day of hanging looters, manning barricades, killing zombies, and rescuing desperate-but-grateful coeds from cannibals.

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The individual pouches kept their vacuum and everything appears good. No food smells, no insects, no nothin’.

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Everything seems good to go. Contents of pouches aren’t caked together from moisture or anything else. Chalk up another win to the vacuum sealer.

Add some boiling water and…tastes just fine. Without a laboratory I can’t tell what nutritional value (if any) might be, but I can tell you that calorically it’s all there. Some canned/dehydrated fruit, powdered orange drink, instant hash browns, powdered scrambled eggs, maybe a freeze-dried pork chop and you’ve got a pretty decent breakfast after the apocalypse.

This vaccum-seal and bucket combo is also how I store 4# bags of sugar and salt. Sugar, especially, works well in this. The vacuum sealing keeps all the moisture out so your bag of salt or sugar doesn’t become a somewhat useless hard brick…and it keeps the bugs out as well.

I’m always gratified when I get to put food-storage theory to the test…empirical data for the win.

* = Not to toot my own horn, but it occurs to me this is the first time I’ve ever seen a blog post anywhere where a person had a post about something they did ten years ago, and then they have the original post from that thing they did ten years ago. Not a lot of blogs out there have the longevity to pull that stunt.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

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Cold winter? Feels like it’s never ending? Homemade broth made in minutes? Creamy chicken noodle soup? YES PLEASE!

The other day we posted a meme on facebook about how sometimes after a big grocery shopping trip you end up ordering pizza because you are too tired to cook. Sound familiar?

Well I discovered a way to avoid that when I do my Costco trips. I pick up a rotisserie chicken on the way out and a yummy pre-made salad. It ends up being a whole lot healthier and I get 2-3 meals out of that chicken. We usually eat half the chicken the first night it comes home and then I make a soup out of the rest of the chicken with the yummiest broth thanks to the INSTANT POT!

Making Broth

After you have removed all the chicken off the bones, place the bones, 6-7 cups of water, salt and pepper in the Instant Pot. If you want you can also add onions, celery, and carrots but I find that it works well enough without them. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. That’s it. I feel like the explanation should be longer but that’s all it takes! I think this probably works in a slow cooker if you cook it all. day. long. but I never plan THAT far in advance.

Now here’s a recipe with homemade noodles and way to make the soup creamy. You can skip the creamy part but it’s just so yummy and appropriate for January!

Homemade Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Noodles: (Can use store-bought egg noodles as well)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 c. water

Soup:
2-3 cups of left over cut up chicken (if you ate all your chicken, freeze-dried chicken works great)
3 carrots chopped
3 celery stalks diced (or do freeze-dried celery)
1/2 onion chopped (or do freeze-dried onions)
6-7 cups of broth made from bones
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. parsley
salt and pepper to taster
oil

Roux (this is the part that makes it creamy):
4 TBS. butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk (I only ever use powdered milk here)

Directions.
Noodles: Knead for 5-10 minutes in a mixer with dough hooks. Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut with a pizza cutter into 1/4 inch strips about 3 inches long. Separate the noodles and let dry out a little bit. When chicken is done cooking, remove and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Soup: Add onions and oil to pan. Once onions are cooked add broth, chicken, celery, and spices. Cook until vegetables are tender. When carrots and celery are cooked add the noodles to cook.

Roux and the rest of the soup: While the noodles are cooking melt 4 TBS of butter in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Slowly add milk while whisking to remove lumps until it’s the consistency of a thin pudding. Slowly whisk milk mixture into the soup and stir until combined. Simmer 4-5 minutes, until slightly thickened.


The post Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Food Storage Made Easy.

Article- California Gun Owners Are Already Subverting the State’s Expanded Assault Weapons Ban

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Part of a sweeping package of reforms pushed by Democrats in 2016, the regulations clamped down on a gun industry innovation, known as the bullet button, that flouted an earlier statute meant to regulate rifles with detachable, quickly reloadable ammunition magazines. Under the revised rules, Californians in possession of assault weapons that incorporate a bullet button and certain other features have until the end of this year to register them with the state, a step that some gun owners are loathe to take. Stores like SoCal can’t sell new bullet button-equipped guns, and don’t yet have an alternative that they can be sure will comply with the enhanced restrictions.

But all that could soon change. Just as they did the last time California updated its longstanding assault weapons law, enterprising gunsmiths are ready with new products that could render the tighter restrictions largely moot.

I have a buddy who, finally, left California for the freedom of the mountains of Montana. He said that the first thing he did after he crossed the border out of the state was to pull over, get his FAL outta the case, and replace the ‘bullet button’ with the normal magazine release.

We always ask California gun owners why they don’t just get out of that place and join the rest of us here in the land of 30-rd magazines and flash suppressors. Usually, the answer is either “My wife won’t move, she has family here” (or a similar family-related theme) or they just can’t change careers right now. I have to respect that, after all, a man has obligations and duties that sometimes keep him from doing what he wants.

I feel bad for those California gunnies, though, and I admire the folks who brainstorm rule-beater advancements in technology to try to make the most of a bad situation.

But…nothing makes me appreciate where I live more than reading those outrageous California regs and snuggling my HK91.

Battery fails

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Finally got around to swapping the old incandescent light bulbs out for new LED ones. What’s interesting is that the LED bulbs had a ‘soft indoor’ version and a ‘outdoor light’ version. These had nothing to do with venue, but rather color or ‘warmth’. For example, if you look at most of the regular light bulbs in your house, they throw a yellowish light. As a result everything you see in your house has a bit of that color tinge in it..nothing in your house is the ‘real’ color. I swapped out some of the bulbs for the ‘outdoor light’ bulbs and discovered that what they mean by ‘outdoor light’ is that, like natural light outside, it isn’t as tinged with other color. In other words, you put these bulbs in your household fixtures and you get to see what color your furniture, paint and carpet really is. Eye opening.

I replaced the bulbs because I was out of regular bulbs and had to go to Costco. LED bulbs provide the same light at about 1/10th the power usage so that’s kind of nice. The major appeal is the stupid things are supposed to last orders of magnitude longer than incandescent bulbs…and don’t bulbs always crap out at the worst times? So…LED upgrades.

As I was swapping bulbs, I passed a few of the battery operated ‘puck lights’ that are in the basement for use in power failures. They’re little LED lights that run on AAA-batts. I keep them mounted to the ceiling studs next to the regular lights. As I was swapping bulbs I figured I’d test out the lights. And…this:

20170110_145958As is typical when this sort of thing happens, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of the device being destroyed. In this case, a little cleaning with a wire brush and some fresh batts set things in the right direction. This is why, broadly, I try not to store things with batteries in them. I haven’t heard of this sort of thing happening with lithium batts, like CR123 or lithium AA’s, but I suppose it may happen..I just haven’t experienced it yet.

Moral of the story: those battery devices (like flashlights and radios) should probably get a six-month check to avoid this sorta thing. Put it on the same schedule as smoke detector battery changing – Daylight Savings Time changeover day.

Bushcraft Mushrooms: 5 Uses of Polypores and Other Mushrooms

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otzi_ice_man_mushrooms-2Mushrooms were among the earliest survival essentials of man.  Otzi, the Ice Man, had two mushrooms with him.  One, the Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius), used for firestarting and the other, the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), was quite possibly being carried for medicinal reasons.  The fire-starting and fire-carrying properties of Tinder Polypore and others like Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) have been well known since ancient times.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

As punk, dried Polypores can be lit and hold the ember very well.  It is for this reason that their benefits begin with the first spark of the fire, which will stay aglow easily on good punk.  Tinder Polypore, Artist Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), and others have a felty interior when the hard fruiting bodies are broken open.  These mushrooms are also called conks, shelf mushrooms, and bracket fungi and are perennial, developing layer upon layer, year after year.  This type of mushroom is very good for tinder.  The felt can be teased with your knife.  There are other types of shelf mushrooms that are not perennial.  Often, they will be more moist and fleshing, or otherwise maybe not the best for tinder… perhaps because of their texture.  Also, there are Polypores that aren’t shelf mushrooms.

polypores_bushcraft_1Polypores (many-pored, or many-little-holes) produce their spores in tubes that are usually under the “shelf” of the mushroom, though many species take on more of the form of the “cap & stem” mushroom.  They are common, seen even in winter because of the persistence of the perennial species and of the dried remains of the tougher annual species.  Even as I write this, I can count several species of Polypore on my eclectic assortment of firewood piled by the wood stove – dried, so even though the wood is punkier than desired the mushrooms will burn with it quite fine.  Earlier today I noticed a Polypore I am not used to seeing on a Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), along with several other species of Polypore that I see regularly.  I also saw the crumbled remains of an annual species that was edible in the fall.  In fact, now that I stop to think about it, that’s a lot of Polypores for a short walk along the road and through the woods!

Related: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It is especially the Polypores that are of interest to the bushcrafter and survivalist.  They are a pretty safe group for edibles.  Many are not considered edible because of toughness or taste, but the majority of poisoning is relatively mild.  Of course, many well-known “choice edibles” and some of the most sought after mushroom delicacies are Polypores.  They have medicinal uses.  Many of the most important herbal medicines come from Polypores.  They can be used to start fire.  Because they keep lit well and burn slow they can also be used to carry fire (potentially very useful without matches or a lighter on hand), and can also be burned for insect repellant.  The dried fruit bodies, or slices of them, can be used to maintain an ember when not feeding wood to the fire.  Polypores can also be used to make torches.  They can be made into charcoal.  They can be pounded into felt (another trait the Tinder Polypore is particularly known for).  They are great for storing fish hooks.  And I am sure there are countless other uses.  

Edible Mushrooms

edible_mushrooms_mycophilic-2Mushrooms are sometimes abundant and are very important survival foods.  It is an interesting thing that mycologists consider cultures to generally be either mycophobic or mycophilic – mushroom fearing or mushroom loving.  Some cultures favor mushrooms that most others avoid.  I have often wondered if this and the deep appreciation some cultures have for mushrooms is due to ancestors being repeatedly saved from famine by mushrooms, which has certainly happened throughout the ages.  

I myself have eaten massive amounts of mushrooms, especially Polypores like Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus spp.), Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa, Maitake, Sheep’s Head, etc.), and others that grow very large and are delicious.  Many times I have eaten more than one meal a day that consisted primarily of mushrooms.  I have often felt very revitalized when doing so, particularly during Morel (Morchella spp.) season when eating lots of Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus), Morels, and wild vegetables.  Mushrooms are very nutritious foods.  Since ancient times they have been revered for their rejuvenating properties.

The all too well known problem with mushrooms as edibles is that some are deadly.  Coupled with the fact that mushrooms in general are difficult to identify, eating mushrooms can  clearly be risky.  Do your research before starving to death so that you can be certain to take the time to seek out knowledgeable people as well as good books.  There are many excellent mushroom websites.

Mushrooms can be dried.  Though, it is a funny trick of nature that they tend to grow when there is more humidity and can be difficult to dry.  Those in the Rocky Mountains will have a much easier time of it than I do down in the Delaware River Valley between New York and Pennsylvania.  For off-grid sites, consider a solar dehydrator, such as passive solar using glass to trap heat.  For sites with electricity consider one of the many commercially manufactured dehydrators, or make one with a simple heating unit such as a light bulb.

Medicinal Mushrooms

polypores_bushcraft_3The medicinal properties of mushrooms have been getting increased attention lately, though they were well-known before the modern world.  Many of the medicinal uses of mushrooms pertain to first-aid care, so this subject is well worth learning for the survivalist.  If the notion of medicinal mushrooms seems strange, consider that out first antibiotic drug, penicillin, is fungal.  

Indeed, primary traits among the medicinal mushrooms are antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.  Polypores in particular, like Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) and Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis), are known for benefiting immunity and fighting off pathogens.  They are used for lung ailments, respiratory infections, systemic infections, cancer, and even auto-immune diseases.  As in the case with Otzi, ancient people all over the world have probably recognized the medicinal benefits of mushrooms.  Today they remain primary ingredients in herbal medicine.  Many cultures have long-held reverence for medicinal mushrooms.  China, for instance, has an extensive and ancient lore surrounding Ganoderma spp., called Lingzi, which means “Longevity Mushroom” or “Spiritual Mushroom” just as the Japanese name, Reishi, does.  For a well-researched reference on many species of medicinal mushrooms see The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers.

While Reishi is too tough and strong tasting to be eaten (rather, it is decocted into a “tea” or broth), many medicinals are good food.  Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is another name that seems to reflect a long-found reverence.  In Japanese it means “Dancing Mushroom”, which some say is because it was worth so much (so revered were such medicinal mushrooms) in ancient Japan that you would dance for joy upon finding one.  Or, perhaps if you were suffering from a life threatening illness that Maitake was known to cure you would have even more reason to dance.  Locally, Grifola is one of the most commonly picked mushrooms, known as Sheep’s Head or Ram’s Head – largely an Appalachian name.  American field guides and grocery stores (this one is also cultivated) usually call it Hen-of-the-Woods.  It is so abundant in certain Oak forests that people will often eat more than their fill and still have plenty to dry, can, or freeze.

Mushrooms even have antifungal properties.  If this seems strange, consider that you are protected by pathogens by your skin.  Fungus has no such barrier, but must still protect itself against pathogens… including fungus!  Fungus tends to prefer dark, damp, dirty areas where other fungus also likes to grow.  Much of the immune-boosting potential of mushrooms is explained in this way.

Many mushrooms, especially certain Polypores and the Luminescent Panellus (Panellus stipticus) can be used to stop bleeding.  The species name stipticus is from styptic, meaning that it is used to stop bleeding.  And yes, the common name is because it glows in the dark- at least the North American variety.

Fire-Starting with Fungus

polypores_bushcraft_6As already mentioned, mushrooms can be very good for “catching the spark” when starting fire with flint or maintaining the ember when starting with the bow drill and the like.  A nice dry piece of Polypore can be used in the middle of your tinder bundle.  Species with a felting interior, like the Tinder Polypore, can be fluffed into very nice tinder by scraping them with your knife to tease the fibers into fluff.  While it can obviously be very helpful to have nice downy tinder, it is not always necessary as even chunks of dried Polypore can stay lit with just a spark.

Transferring a “coal” from bow or hand drill methods is simply done by contacting the mushroom with the ember so that it keeps lit.  One might even use larger flat polypores underneath the fireboard so that the hot wood dust falls directly on the mushroom.

Polypores are like punk, meaning that they stay lit easy.  Punky wood (dry and rotten) might very well stay lit for hours from only a spark or ember, but generally wood requires sufficient heat to keep burning or it goes out.  Polypores can stay lit for many hours, often slowly burning from just a small ember until all the mushroom is burned up.  This has several uses.  Such as in primitive times, lit Polypores can be bound in leaves and bark so that the fire could be carried to the next spot.  I have also maintained embers in the firepit by setting in them a piece of Polypore during times when I did not desire to build up the fire by adding more wood.  Obviously, the standard rule is to keep watch on a fire at all times, but we are talking survival here.  Perhaps, you are lost in the woods with no fire-starting implements and need to spend the day hunting, fishing, or gathering mushrooms.  You certainly don’t want to lose your fire, but you don’t want to build it up either right before leaving.  It could be much safer to feed the embers with mushrooms than to pile on firewood.  

Also Read: How to Start a Fire With Your EDC Knife and a Shoelace

Mushrooms don’t have the tendency to burst into flame, even though they stay lit well.  In order to produce flame, hot pitch can be poured on the Polypore and then lit to produce a torch.  Alternately, clumps of pitch can be set or stuck (depending on consistency) on a Polypore and then lit.  The pitch will melt down into the mushroom and this makes good fuel.  

Polypores can also be made into charcoal in the same manner as making char cloth.  I have used the leathery Polypores, like Turkey Tail, as well as slices of thicker species like Tinder Polypore and Reishi.  I usually use tins, such as old Altoids tins, to fill with the mushrooms and then place on the hot coals until smoking ceases.  Then remove, let cool, and add to your tinder box for later fire-starting.

Fiber from Polypores

tinder_polypore-2Tinder Polypore can be made into felt.  This can be done by boiling and pounding the interior portion (which looks felty even when fresh).  A friend of mine has hats made of the felt, similar to that worn by the famous mycologist Paul Stamets.  I have also seen purses and other crafts from the felt.  It might be a stretch to consider making an outfit out of Tinder Polypores in a survival scenario.  Small pouches and such, on the other hand, could be very realistic and handy.

At the New Jersey Mycological Association’s yearly Fungus Fest they set up a paper-making station.  Violet Tooth Polypores (Trichaptum biforme) and other similar mushrooms are blended in water in order to produce a fibrous mush that is strained, pressed, and dried to produce a sturdy craft paper.  Violet Tooth Polypores work well for fiber extraction because they are thin, like the well-known medicinal Turkey Tail and other mushrooms that comprise the “leathery” group of Polypores.  

Taking Care of Tools with Polypores

polypores_bushcraft_2Pieces of dried Polypores can work great for storing fish hooks.  I like to slice the fresh mushroom into thick strips before drying them.  This makes them handy for decocting into medicine, for stashing in tinder boxes, and for piercing a selection of fish hooks into in attempt to keep a tackle box orderly.  It also makes them ready for making charcoal if, for instance, they are cut so that they fit into an Altoids box or some other vessel that can be used to make charcoal.  Have a line-up of fish hooks in a small rectangle of Polypore makes it easy to grab a few hooks to throw in your pocket or in your sack.  If it keeps dry, you’ll even have fire-starting material with you.  If it gets wet, just toss it – you have plenty more stashed away.

Apparently Birch Polypore can be used for stropping.  An alternate name commonly cited for the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) is Razor Strop.  I have never tried it, but the dried fruiting bodies certainly seem to be the correct consistency (usually leather is used for stropping).  

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How to be one of those prepper/survivalist bloggers

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I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now, which makes me one of the longest-lived and most under-read blogs on the interwebs when it comes to the topic of preparedness. The secret to that longevity? Well…not really having any other hobbies.

But…no doubt you have some ideas you want to spray around the internet and get all the accolades, babes, endorsement deals, and big bucks that come with blogging, right? Any yahoo can string a couple sentences together and develop a readership, right? I mean, if that goofball in Montana can do it, how hard can it be???

Ok, if you want to get into blogging, this one is for you.

It’s really simple. You need:

  • A domain name
  • A host for that domain
  • A blogging platform
  • An email account
  • PayPal account (optional)
  • Backup software (optional, but a really smart idea)

Domain name – Something short and catchy. You’ll be surprised at how many names that you think no one would have thought of are actually already taken. Pretty much anything with ‘survival’ in it probably already has someone using it. Whatever you pick, make sure you like it…you may (or may not) be using it for a long time. And the shorter names are easier to remember and easier for people to type. “Holycrapwereallgonnadieinanuclearapocalypse.com” is, probably, still available. And it’s probably still available for a reason – who the heck wants to type all that? Look at some of your favorite blogs and see how they dealt with the name issue.

Hosting – there’s a handful of ways to go. Personally, I went with Yahoo for a number of years and it worked out well. Then they did some changes and things went screwy for a while. I had heard good things about Bluehost and I went with them. So far, been pretty pleased with them. I recommend them, although I’m sure there are other hosts that are just as good. I can only tell you about what I’ve done. Wherever you go, though, try to have the same outfit do the domain registration, hosting, and email.

Blogging platform – the two biggies out there seem to be Blogger and WordPress. I really like WP for all the ways you can modify it, the third-party support is tremendous, and many hosts are already set up on the back-end to support it. When I was shopping for hosts one of the things that appealed to me about Bluehost was that they had WP already installed. It was about as close to -click-n-play as it could be. You literally can be up and blogging in minutes.

Email account – Again, I wanted all my eggs in one basket..hosting, email, domain registration, etc, all done through the same company…this makes a lot of stuff seamless. If you already have a cool domain name registered elsewhere you can usually ‘port it over.

Payapl account – if you’re going to pass the hat around, or sell an item or two on your blog, you’ll want a PayPal account. Get it AFTER you get your domain and mail set up…that way all that annoying registration nonsense goes to the blog email address.

Backups – Dude, we’ve heard it all of our lives – backup your software. There is nothing more frustrating than watching years of posts vanish in a server migration or somesuch. I use Updraft, and I paid for the upgraded version. It backs everything up a couple times a week and dumps it to Dropbox (or wherever you want it..email, Google, wherever). It is absolutely worth the money. Bluehost offers backups as well and if you’re the suspenders-and-a-belt type, you’ll want to take advantage of that as well.

That’s the basics. After that, the rest is up to you. Maybe you want to monetize things with an Amazon Affiliate account. Or you want to be subscription only. Or you just want a place to rant and rave. Whatever. But once you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to get people through the front door. Do not promote your blog by spamming message boards or other blogs. I had some loser do that a few weeks ago…he posted worthless comments to dozens of posts and used his comments as a platform to link to his page. That is extremely bad form in the blogosphere. Go to some blogs that have a list of other blogs and ask to be added to that list. And then make some actually good, quality, readable posts. Blogging is a great example of the free market – put out a good product and you’ll get rewarded, or a bad product and you’ll be quickly forgotten. You want to make the kind of posts that someone will read and send an email to a buddy saying “Hey, check out this blog.” Or, better yet, you want something that a better-read blog will link to. I link to other poeople’s blogs from time to time and they link to mine. (And, theres no two ways around it, if you can get ,Rawles to link to you..well…thats your fifteen minutes of fame and your chance to shine.)

All of this, by the by, also applies to any other type of blogging….gunblogging, in particular. But whatever you decide to do try to stick it out….it’s easy to start off strong and post every day and then slack off and the next thing you know your’re posting every other month. I’ve watched several blogs I liked suddenly stop posting and remain static. Or, worse, come back as 404 or ‘this domain for sale’.

Oh..and don’t be a dick.

Happy blogging.