The Pharmacy is Closed

It’s an unfortunate fact should you become involved in a crisis situation you will, if not immediately, eventually incur some sort of injury. Without treatment any wound, trivial or not, can become infected, but assuming you will be dirty and unable to properly sanitize yourself, the risk of serious infections skyrockets.

Suddenly feel like you should be leaning on your musket wearing a coon skin cap?

Best not to count on Walgreen or CVC being open for business as usual and hospitals, if available could either be inundated with injuries, or depending on the crisis … quarantined. You’re going to have to fend for yourself.

For a true survivalist the issue of possible injuries has been recognized and plans prepared, to the best of their ability anyway. But to a rookie or a recent convert to the situation … the fear experienced by realizing they don’t even have a bottle of aspirin, could be paralyzing.

Stop! Take a deep breath and think. Our ancestors dealt with the same problems. Ever visit a replica of a colonial town? The pharmacy had 5 or 6 bottles of powder on the shelf and a few mixing tools. In other words, for the most part pioneers handled their own medical treatment. You can do the same.


The same herbs, grasses, roots etc etc they used to treat minor ailments are most likely still growing right around you. You just have to know what you are looking for and what to do with it when you find it. Let’s begin.

Pain is nature’s way of notifying you something is wrong. Most of the time the degree of sustained pain equals the seriousness of the ailment, but not always. Now that we have acknowledged natures calling card … we’d sure like to do away with the pain, as no matter how small … it’s irritating.

wildlettuce

Wild Lettuce

Wild Lettuce and Prickly Lettuce aka Opium lettuces are excellent painkillers, which people have used for centuries to relieve pain. Those people didn’t care, but for your personal info, the medicine is non-additive and a great alternative to opioids. Although not native to North America, brought over from Europe, India & Pakistan, the lettuce pretty well grows everywhere in the continental USA.

Wild Lettuce grows to 3 – 4 feet tall and produces small yellow buds and has a bitter milky sap inside the leaves. This milky substance is known as Lactucarium, which affects the Central Nervous System, thus reducing and/or eliminating the pain, again non habit forming and risk of poisoning is zero.

There are three common methods to extract the medicine:

A. Pick a handful of leaves from the plant, cut them into small pieces, place them in a pot and pour just enough water in to entirely cover the leaves. Heat the pot, but be careful NOT to let the water begin to boil, that will compromise the medicinal value. Strain the leaves from the water, let pot continue to heat until the remaining liquid becomes syrupy. Drink after cooling.

B. Pick a handful of leaves. Allow them to dry, then grind them into a powder, make a herbal tea and drink it.

C. Dry the leaves and smoke them like a cigarette.

waterlily

Diarrhea Lily

(Nymphaea alba) AKA Diareha-water lily is an aquatic plant that has many medical benefits for gastrointestinal conditions.

You will be digesting safe, yet abnormal foods, and your body may rebel until it becomes more accustom to the menu change. To treat this rebellion use the water lily.

The water lily is a perennial plant which grows in wet environments. The leaves and pads appear to float by themselves, but are actually attached to a flexible stalk which derives from the root (rhizomes). The leaves are nearly round, 7 to 12 inches across and have a slit which makes the plant appear to be a Pac-man character. The large white flowers with yellow centers have their own stalks, 25 or more petals which emit a strong fragrance when open in the daylight hours.

The rhizome (root) portion of the plant is where the medicinal value comes from, as it is an astringent. To make the medicine, use a non-aluminum pot, this is very important because aluminum alters the chemical structure of the plant. Fill it with about a pint of water. Note: Do not crush the rhizome until ready to place into water. Place a handful of crushed root, slowly heat to a simmer, do not boil. Allow about a ¼ of the water to boil off, cool, strain the solid particles from the liquid and drink.

The medicine is very good at treating diarrhea and dysentery.

beautyberrybush

Surviving in the wild, no matter where you are, except maybe Antarctica, you will have to deal with insects, which can make life a living hell. They are natures way of laughing at our agony, but as with most things in nature, there is a solution. Today’s modern bug repellents consists of Deet, which is not available naturally.

However, the Beauty Berry Bush (Callicarpa Americana) a deciduous shrub or bush, which grows in the Southeastern United States, contains a natural insect repellent which rivals Deet in effectiveness. This is not an old legend, this is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture findings.

Crush leaves and wipe them over your entire body and clothing. This will take time and will have to be repeated every few hours, depending on how much you sweat, but the relief will be worth it.

If you are lucky enough to have a few supplies. Crush the leaves and place them in a jar, pour rubbing alcohol into the jar until full, then secure cap. Allow this to sit for a few hours totally extracting the contents of the leaves into the alcohol. Remove as much of the leaves as possible and use the liquid to rub on the body and clothes.

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Honey is not only a great food source, delightfully sweet and packed with energy, it is also a medicine. Use honey to treat a cough or raspy throat. It is also an antiseptic that can be smeared on cuts and burns. Be aware of getting honey in the wild, don’t tangle with African-i zed bees as they will ruin your day.

For general knowledge here are additional uses for honey.

Acne can be treated with honey. Thoroughly clean the face, apply raw honey to the area, allow to set for 30 minutes then wash off. The honey contains anti-bacterial properties and helps the skin stay moist.

Arthritis is basically the inflammation of the joint. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce pain and swelling.

Believe it or not locally produced honey can help reduce allergies. Allergies are the result of a negative reaction to pollen. Honey is produced by using this local pollen. Repeated eating of the honey will result in the body building an immunity to the negative effects of the pollen. This is not an overnight cure, but it will work.

redadler

Red Alder Tree

If you have never experienced the itchy agony of having poison ivy or poison oak, count your blessings. The red rash and bumps contact with the plants cause are miserable, especially if you have no treatment available to curb the spread and lessen the itching.

Luckily the Red Alder tree (Alnus rubra) is native to North America. The tree is hard to miss as it can grow to over a 100 feet tall. The bark is a mottled light gray and is relatively smooth to the touch. The leaves are ovate, 4-5 inches long with a serrated edge.

Pick a large handful of green leaves, Not dead leaves, crush them into a powder, place them into a container of water and bring to a simmer. Let the leaves to set in the water allowing its chemical properties to leech into the water. Once cooled use a rag or cloth, saturated with the broth and wipe all over the effected area. Continue this treatment until the rash is completely gone.

hackberrytreebark


A sore throat, besides being painful and aggravating, is a sign of inflammation caused by an infection. Left untreated the infection could morph into a serious disease, such as strep throat. Native Americans would take pieces of the Hack-berry tree bark, crush it into a powder and make a tea of it. Repeat this treatment until the soreness is gone.

toothachetree

The Zanthoxylum clava-herculis tree is a two edged sword. It is an excellent pain reliever, but only grows in the Southeastern United States. It’s commonly known as The Toothache Tree because chewing on its leaves or bark causes the mouth, tongue, lips and teeth to go numb.

Identification is quite simple because the bark appears to have little pyramids growing out it. Not easily ignored.


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Poisonous Plants

I considered making this a post of its own, but we are talking about making brews to drink, rubbing leaves on ourselves and smoking leaves. So I thought it may be prudent to continue the lesson with the direct opposite of medicine … poison.

A person can become poisoned by ingestion (eating), contact (physically touching) or inhalation (breathing it in)

What are the effects of accidentally becoming poisoned? It can range from a mild skin irritation to death. Some people ask “How poisonous is such and such plant?” This question is nearly impossible to answer definitively because:

Some plants require you to come into contact with a large amount of its leaves or bark, while others will cause death with only minute contact.

Every plant, possibly growing in the same area, will contain various amounts of the toxins depending on soil content. A plant that comes into water runoff containing Miracle Grow will produce more toxins than a water starved plant.

Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances. Most people happily eat peanut butter, while that same substance is a deadly poison to others.

When dealing with a possible life or death situation, its imperative we dispel misconceptions, or “I heard” logic. For instance, Watch what animals eat, it won’t be poisonous. Most of the time this is true, but not always. A honey badger can withstand numerous strikes from a cobra, which is on their menu, not so a human.

If you boil the plant in water all the poison will be removed. Again, not true in all cases. Just like boiling water removes enough bacteria to make the water safe to drink, it does not destroy everything the water contains. The same with all red plants are poisonous. Not always true, Nature has a habit of making red and/or bright colors as a warning, but cherries are red and chocolate covered cherries are a delight.

The bottom line is…. there is no one set rule or guideline to identifying poisonous plants. Only education, learning the native poisonous plants will totally protect you. If in doubt … don’t eat it.

Beware plants are great impersonators, as many poisonous plants look exactly like another edible plant. At a causal glance Poison hemlock appears very similar to a wild carrot. Possibly worse yet, some plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth, but not in others. A Poke weed is safe to eat when it first starts to grow, but becomes poisonous as it ages. A May-apple is edible, but ONLY the ripe fruit, the green parts are poisonous. Did you know potatoes and tomatoes are perfectly safe to eat (obviously) but their green parts are poisonous.

To repeat: Unless your are absolutely sure of what the plant is and the possible danger … do not eat it!

Mushrooms are extremely difficult to identify and unless precise … could be deadly. Mushrooms attack the gastrointestinal and central nervous system, some causing death very quickly, quicker than a poisonous snake bite, and some deadly mushrooms have no known anti-dote.

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In addition to eating harmful plants, poisoning by contact is the most common method of contamination. Common plants like poison ivy excretes an oil which gets on the skin during contact, which can cause persistent and irritating itching, and scratching the area can cause it to spread. This oil can also be spread person to person. A person has the oil on his hands, grabs the steering wheel of the tractor, and the next person grabbing the steering wheel contracts the poison.

You will rarely, if ever, see a rancher or farmer burning brush without a mask of some sort covering his mouth and nose. The smoke created when burning poisonous plants can be just as dangerous as the plant, if fact possibly much worse because you inhale the poison into your respiratory system.

Points to remember: If you do eat any plants, keep a log and a sample of it. If accidental poisoning occurs the medical personnel can quickly tell which plant caused the illness.

Signs of possible poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, depressed/slowed heartbeat and breathing, headaches, hallucinations, a dry mouth, falling unconscious. Coma and death can quickly follow these symptoms so don’t brush them off as no big deal.

 


 

Don’t Drink the Water

 

We’ve always been told not to drink saltwater, specifically referring to the ocean. It’s traditional wisdom we don’t question, but why not? We question everything else. Why can’t we drink saltwater? To answer that question we’ll have to turn to some medical expertise to see the effects of saltwater on our bodies.

So let’s begin with the question: What happens to our body when we drink saltwater?

It seems logical if we are drinking water, salty or not, we are replenishing much needed fluids our body requires to function properly, avoiding dehydration. However, in reality if we drink 3 ounces of saltwater, our body will expel 5 or more ounces of the fluid we’re trying to replenish. How can that be? It’s done through a process known as osmosis, and we’ll learn how that works before we’re finished.

Let’s begin with the kidneys. The kidney’s act as the body’s filtering system, removing harmful, unneeded or unwanted impurities from the blood, storing this waste in the form of urine, which we excrete when we urinate. This necessary and natural process keeps our body healthy, which is why people with kidney problems must go through dialysis, a medical manual filtering and cleaning of the blood.

It’s important to note the kidneys only filter liquid, solid waste is handled in a different part of the body by different organs. Here’s the rub, the kidneys can only make urine out of water with less than 2% salt content. Saltwater normally contains 3.5% salt, therefore it cannot be turned into urine. So how does the body get rid of it? The kidneys must rob other parts of the body of enough water to dilute the salt to 2% or less. What other parts? Our cells.


kidney

Body cells are isotonic, which means they must contain 2% or less of salt to remain healthy. The cell’s membrane is semipermeable, which by design, makes sodium entering into the cell extremely difficult, a safety precaution to keep excess salt out, however, water can move through the membrane easily. The body likes equalization and when the salt content in the blood becomes too high, water is extracted from the cell to reduce the salinity of the blood. This process is called osmosis and can have disastrous results, because as the cells excrete water they shrink in size and that ain’t good.

The kidneys are not the only organs negatively affected by too much salt. If you consume alcohol you are probably aware of the signs that you are over indulging and are starting to become intoxicated. Your body motions are not as fluid and coordinated, your thought process becomes muddled, you may begin to slur your words. Well, the early signs of salt poisoning are quite similar, as you’re becoming intoxicated on salt exactly the way you become intoxicated on alcohol.

When you become intoxicated the Central Nervous System (CNS) is negatively affected. The CNS is responsible for controlling every function of the body from breathing to thinking to controlling your bladder. When the CNS becomes intoxicated it senses the body is not reacting normally, therefore it reduces blood flow to what it deems less critical body functions. In other words, you may stumble or have trouble thinking logically, but you remain breathing and your heart continues to pump. If the CNS continues to become more intoxicated, more saltwater consumed, it will take more drastic actions to maintain life and this can become disastrous.

Salt poisoning can provoke anything from very mild symptoms such as jittery-ness, lethargic reactions and confusion… to more deadly reactions such as dehydration, which can then lead to a spike in blood pressure, seizure and a coma. Let’s exam how these happen.

cns

The jitters by themselves may not seem like a terrible reaction to have, merely a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing. But keep in mind that along with jitters comes a possibility of a dangerous increase in respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. Continued exposure to both those symptoms can lead to much more severe responses such as a myo-cardial infarction, or a heart attack. Likewise, lethargy and confusion can impair judgment and inhibit good decision making, such as I’m in real stress and require medical help.

Seizures can not only be extremely scary, they can be life altering. Normally an intoxicated induced seizure does little to no harm, but repeated episodes can lead to brain damage, because all seizures create bleeding around the brain and any such abnormal activity around the brain is dangerous.

I’ve tried to satisfy the intellect of my readers, but now I’ll bring it down to my level. If you’re chugging seawater thinking your doing yourself any good, you are actually taking in sodium that is incurring a net loss of water, leading to depleted body fluids, muscle cramps, dry mouth, and yes, thirst.

The body tries to compensate for fluid loss by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels to maintain blood pressure and flow to vital organs. You’re also most likely to feel nausea, weakness and even delirium, and as you become more dehydrated, the coping mechanism continues to fail. If you don’t drink enough water to reverse the effects of excess sodium, the brain and other organs receive less blood, leading to coma, organ failure and eventually death.

I temporarily loss my mind and drank a lot of saltwater. Is there any way to reverse the effects of the saltwater poisoning? The best way to reverse any potential side-effects of salt poisoning is to consume large volumes of fresh water in order to dilute it. Depending on the degree of poisoning, the body may be able to purge the excess salt on its own. However, you still must increase your freshwater intake in order to replace missing fluids. However, while trying to replace the saltwater volume with fresh water, you must be careful to not do so too quickly. The body and brain adapt quickly to the higher concentration of salt, a rapid infusion of freshwater before it can effectively rid itself of saltwater can cause the brain cells to swell, which can lead to brain swelling, damage and ultimately death.

In a situation where freshwater isn’t easily available to you, but will be shortly, attempting to purge the saltwater is a good start. If you’ve had too much to purge effectively, and no freshwater is on hand, electrolyte rich alternatives such as coconut water is a good alternative. However if this method is used, you should see a physician quickly after to assure that an imbalance hasn’t occurred.

In the event that someone has already started to exhibit some of the more severe symptoms of salt poisoning, it’s imperative to get them to a physician, hospital or para-medical personnel as quickly as possible.

Bottom line: Don’t drink the water if it’s salty.

Desert Survival Techniques

 

Desert. What images does the word conjure up in your mind? A desolate dry, rocky terrain dotted with cactus … A sandy windswept dry plain that’s forever changing. The worlds’ desert environments are varied, you realize an ice packed environment could be a desert, but all have one thing in common.,, they are arid. Any environment lacking water creates challenges to survival. But because deserts are not all alike they pose an unique survival challenge that follow a different set of survival rules, some contrary to normal survival techniques.

As we zip along the sparsely traveled side road in our air conditioned motor home, listening to the stereo and sipping on a cold drink, we never give it a thought that we are traversing the same desert landscape that claimed the lives of hundreds of early settlers who became stranded exactly where we now are. No concern on our part. This is modern times. Nothing to worry about.

Really? What has changed that makes dying in the desert impossible today? The landscape hasn’t changed in a 1000 years, boulders lie where they settled a million years ago when the ocean disappeared, and creatures who have inhabited this harsh environment still exist, although unseen. The only thing that has changed is You. Civilized Mankind.

You have become weaker … try cultivating 10 acres with a mule and plow. We are dumber … can you read the stars and know your exact location? We are lazy … do you walk 2 blocks to the video store or drive?

But we have technology! Yep. Cell phones that may or may not have a signal and definitely have batteries that go dead rendering it useless. We have cars that can do everything, even talk to you. But are useless when it runs out of fuel, or suffers an electrical malfunction. Do they still have vehicle repair shops?

You get the point. Don’t fool yourself, one silly or unavoidable mishap could land you squarely in a dire survival situation in a hostile environment inhabited by unfriendly dangerous animals. Ready to learn how to survive if the unthinkable happens? … Let’s do it.


Introduction to Desert Survival Techniques 101

Some survival techniques are so basic there shouldn’t be a need to even mention them. But since people continue to ignore the rule I’ll repeat it.

Tell someone where you are going!

Can’t get much simpler, but …. Let someone who cares about you, not the female bartender you’ve been hitting on, where you’re going. A back country hiking trip should be a no-brain-er, but a trip to Vegas through the desert can turn just as deadly. When you are missed the loved one can contact the proper authorities and they know where to begin their search. If you drastically change your plans, going to Phoenix instead, let the person know. Beginning a search in the wrong direction is worse than not knowing where to begin, as it reduces the area of search. You’ve just completed the first step to desert survival.

Water is the most critical thing to desert survival. Maybe not.

Conventional survival techniques teach finding potable water as the most important thing to do, but the desert alters that rule. Obviously water must be located, but at what cost? Water retention now enters the equation and stumbling about in the blistering sun searching for water is self defeating as you are losing water, through sweating, at a rapid pace and are not replacing it.

Here’s a simple way to look at it mathematically. Water in must equal water out. Simple equation for dehydration, but if the equation gets out of kilter, water in is less than water out for an extended time, death occurs.

Two ways to keep the equation in balance, or at least minimize the rate of speed dehydration is reached.

A. Locate and consume more water…

B. Mitigate or reduce water loss … sweating

If you don’t see water from where you are standing, what makes you think you’ll find it over the next hill? You may, but chances are remote and you’ll lose precious water by walking around in the scorching sun.

Instead find shade. (the altered part of survival 101) The desert is a nocturnal world which comes alive after the searing sun goes down and the temperatures drop. You’ll rest during the day, conserving energy and water, while traveling at night to search for water, food and the construction of a shelter and water producing projects. Avoid sitting directly on the hot ground which has baked for hours, instead try finding a shaded spot.

Back to finding water. If you live near or plan to travel through the desert always stash a piece of thin plastic in your vehicle, backpack, or fanny pack, as it can prove to be a life saver. If you can build a solar still, which we will, the urgency to journey out into the unknown searching for water is greatly reduced.

Simply explained a solar still is a miniature greenhouse which traps humidity under the vapor barrier, which then condenses into water as the temperatures drop at night. Here are the basic steps for constructing a simple solar still.

solarstill

One: Dig a round hole a few feet by a few feet deep. There’s no need to get carried away and dig a basement or a grave.

Two: Dig the pit in a funnel form, sides angling downward

Three: Stretch your piece of plastic across the hole, it is important to have extra plastic in order to secure the perimeter. That’s why I said don’t go crazy with the size and depth of the hole. **** If you can find some green vegetation place it into the hole under the plastic, as it will contain moisture that can be extracted.

Four: Secure the perimeter of the plastic with rocks or cover with sand/dirt.

Five: You’ll want the plastic taunt, however you’ll want to funnel the water downward to the center in order to collect. Do this by placing a rock in the middle which will draw the plastic down creating a pooling area.

There are several methods of collecting the water depending on what’s available. If you have an empty bottle, set it under the collection point and punch a small hole in the plastic for the water to drip into the bottle. If you have a straw or a reed which can be used as a straw, you can suck the water off the plastic. If nothing else you may have to lap the water like a dog. Whatever it takes to survive.

Want to go on a diet?

As I said the desert has a way of changing things. Statistically and probabilities dictate if lost in the desert you will most likely die from dehydration, injury or be rescued before you will from starvation. That might sound a little harsh, but it is the truth. Therefore, don’t waste energy or water searching for food. However, if an easy meal presents itself in the form of an egg, rodent or snake … by all means take it. But don’t lose sleep over being hungry. Be glad you are alive to feel the pangs.

Fire … when men became men except during the day

You should never build a fire during the day. Why? Number one it’s hot and you are already in a miserably hot environment, plus it takes energy to build a fire. Just walking around collecting firewood burns energy and worse yet … expels water through sweating. There’s a time for a fire, but not daytime.

You may ask about a fire for signaling purposes. Rescue crews, on the ground and in the air, are taught to look for something out of the norm when scanning huge areas. A shiny object like a mirror or knife blade, reflecting sunlight, work much better for attracting attention.

There is one exception for a special circumstance. If you need a black bellowing smoke, and you are at your stranded vehicle, which you better be, then drain the oil and burn it. This will create a black plume you can see for miles.

fire1

As night begins to approach it’s time to start the fire. Don’t wait until dark to gather firewood and try lighting a fire. You may need light to see why you are having trouble getting a fire started, and critters begin coming out at night so it’s better to not be out blindly lifting sticks and what ever, not knowing what’s under them.

Fire is extremely important for numerous reasons. A fire can be seen for a long distance in the desert at night even on a starry night. It doesn’t have to be a blazing inferno, but glowing embers don’t help a lot. Never underestimate how quickly dried wood burns. When you think you’ve gathered enough for the entire night, triple that.

The desert gets bitterly cold at night, ironic isn’t it, and a warm fire will go a long ways in insuring your survival and peace of mind. Especially if your in your normal summer suit of shorts and a tank top.

A lastly, all those critters you didn’t see during the day are now out and moving about, hunting for food. Man is normally not on the menu, but you could get caught in a crossfire between a snake and a rat. The fire will help persuade them to give you a wide path.

Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes
snake

Of all desert creatures the rattle snake poses the greatest danger to you. In America poisonous snakes cause very few fatalities, but that’s because emergency medical treatment is usually reasonably close. Even with the administering of life saving anti-venom, you will still incur incredible pain. You don’t want to try and endure this in the wilderness and hope your body can ward off the effects of the bite.

A scorpion rarely stings unless it is hunting or feels threatened, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them as a danger. You know you mean no harm to the scorpion you just put your hand down on, but it doesn’t … and even it did it’d probably still sting you for invading its space.

Bottom line is … always be aware of your surroundings and watch for any sign of danger.

Flash Floods can be deadly.

flashflood

You are quite aware of the dangers posed by a flash flood, but in the desert where you’ve been searching fruitlessly for a bit of moisture, that much water sounds impossible. Unlikely … perhaps. Impossible … con tare … very possible. In fact people die every year in the American Southwest due to flash flood drownings. The problem is the atmosphere over a desert can change drastically in a very short time. The starry night you fell asleep by may erupt into a torrential storm out of nowhere.

Again, the extreme challenges to the rule created by deserts. Because there is very little moisture the ground bakes in the scorching sun becoming concrete like. When suddenly engulfed in a flood of rain the ground can not absorb enough of it quickly enough to prevent a massive runoff. Every gully and rut will experience the same runoff, joining together to create a tsunami which will destroy anything in its path.

So when deciding on a place to rest or camp, always survey the area. Staying in the bottom of a dry channel, ditch or dry lake bed is dangerous, not saying you absolutely should not rest there, but be aware of the possible danger and the weather conditions.

duststorm

Hell, here comes a dust storm

Dust storms are another of those freaks of nature’s desert that can really be troubling. If you are at your vehicle stay inside it. Roll the windows up as tight as possible to keep the elements out, but you may have to roll one down slightly if the heat becomes too much. You don’t want to bake yourself into oblivion.

If you are caught out in the open look for large boulders, low lying rock outcrops or any other natural shelter to hide behind or under. If you are lucky enough to encounter a straight wind dust storm, some swirl, the rock shelter will help block the worse of the storm. Always place something, a rag or handkerchief over your mouth and nose to keep from inhaling dust particles. A bunch of sand and dust lining your mouth and lungs won’t do any good for your already raging thirst.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do but hunker down and wait for the storm to end. One last personal note. If you have no extra clothing to cover your mouth and nose I would recommend taking your shirt off and covering your entire head. The sand may sting, but you have protected your eyes, mouth and lungs.

Think Twice Before Drinking Cactus Water

cactus

I know you see cowboys cut off a chunk of cactus and drink to their hearts desire, but this ain’t Hollywood and you ain’t John Wayne. The chances of cactus water making you ill, very diarrhea type ill, is quite high. Come down with a case of the runs and dehydration goes into warp drive. But … as a last resort … you are dying of thirst … go far it. What do you have to lose?

These desert survival techniques are not all inclusive, no manual contains everything. Special forces are continually coming up with new ways to survive in hostile environments, but learn and adhere to these basics and your odds of surviving have skyrocketed.

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Freezing To Death?

 

There doesn’t have to be a Zombie apocalypse to find yourself confronted with a life threatening situation of possibly freezing to death. We are so accustomed to feeling a chill and turning the thermostat up for more heat, that the thought of that not being possible doesn’t cross our mind. A failing antiquated power grid structure is more prone to failure than the governments or power companies are willing to admit. Terrorists, hackers, natural disasters, etc, etc are realistic issues.

And it doesn’t have to only be at home. Stranded on a snow closed road, weather suddenly turning deadly while on a short hike for your health. The possibilities are endless, but the main issue is “How do you survive such a situation?” Let’s begin with learning methods on how to protect our families from the elements.


How do you die from just being cold? The physical effects on the human body from cold temperatures is known as Hypothermia, which is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. The first symptom begins with shivering, which we all have encountered, as the body begins to address the situation by producing heat. With no relief the body will continue to shiver, which also includes shivering of the teeth, to the point you will not be able to control it.

As the body’s temperature lowers the brain becomes affected, thought process becomes sluggish, then turns to irrational as it tells your body you feel warm. This is often the tipping point where people subconsciously decide they are warm and very, very tired falling into sleep and dying. Death comes at approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 Celsius, core body temperature.

What does the enemy look like?

Cold temperatures are bad enough, but add wet conditions and you have a double whammy. Water is very efficient in exchanging heat, in other words, it saps the heat from your body very rapidly. That’s why it is imperative to never lay directly on the ground when sleeping. Even if there is no snow cover the ground holds frozen moisture which acts like a sponge absorbing body heat.

Windchill is another culprit. You may have heard weather people talk about wind chill in context of the temperature feels so & so. The windchill will always be below the actual temperature, the critical thing is your body reacts to the windchill condition. In other words you’ll be contending with the physical aspects of -10 degrees windchill, not 18 degrees temperature.

Let’s start with a few basic principles of cold weather survival.

heatlosshead

It’s an undisputed fact that your head acts like a fireplace chimney, a direct outlet for your body to lose 40-45% of its heat. Therefore, it goes without saying “always keep your head covered.” The warmer the hat the better, but if nothing else, tie a cloth or handkerchief about your head.

Another point from the reverse angle. If a person is suffering heat exhaustion medical treatment is to rub ice on the neck, wrist and ankles, because blood flow is strong at these points. The same logic should be used for the cold, protect wrists, ankles and your neck.Four keep warm basics.

Keep clothing clean. Your clothing serves as insulation and any soil, such as damp dirt, or any other substance that compromises insulation value is not good.

Wear clothes that are loose and use layers instead of one heavy piece of clothing. There are reasons for this. Wearing layers provides the opportunity to shed or add clothing as the situation dictates. Additionally, there is air trapped between the layer of clothing and this adds insulation.

layer

Military Layers

Do not wear clothes with tight cuffs. Hands and feet are the farthest extremities from the heart and are the last to receive blood flow during normal activity, and the first to be cutoff if the body perceives it must conserve energy and heat. The tight clothing will only compound the problem of restricted blood flow.

Avoid overheating and sweating. That sounds out of place when we’re discussing freezing to death, but …. remember shoveling snow and how sweaty you became despite it being below freezing. Just because you’re in frigid conditions doesn’t mean you can not overheat. How does the body try to cool down … sweating.

Sweating, activating the body’s air conditioning system, is bad enough, as a short term heat loss mechanism. But if your clothing becomes wet your insulation, instead of retaining heat, becomes a conductor which will draw the body’s heat for an extended time. Depending on how wet the clothing becomes, it could lead to your death.

Tip: Remember your head being a chimney for heat loss? If you are in a situation you cannot control and begin to sweat, uncover your head. This vent will help reduce sweating.

Keep clothing dry is kinda self explanatory, but also easier said than done in some conditions. Snow is a strange creature, it can be dry and powdery or wet and heavy depending on weather conditions. Obviously water repellent clothing is the best choice if possible, but depending on the circumstances, they may be hanging in your closet at home.

More than likely you will get wet to some degree. The key is to minimize the degree of moisture and that will require your use of logic, because there are a 100 different variables neither I nor anyone else can anticipate involved in your decisions.

For example, a damp overcoat. You don’t want the clothing to continue holding water, as more water equals less protection. Spread the coat over a tree or bush exposing it to the sun. The sun, although the temperature is frigid, will still dry the coat if its not too saturated. Removing the coat also eliminates it absorbing more sweat. A slight wind is a two edged sword. It’ll help dry the clothing, but is also a possible danger to you.

If you have a shelter hang the clothes inside near the ceiling as heat rises and will speed drying. If you have a shelter you may have a fire, which of course is your best method of drying clothing. There are a few precautions to adhere to in doing this. Resist the urge to hurry the drying process. Placing articles of clothing too close to the fire could result in them catching fire. Now you went from wet clothes to no clothes. Heard of a win-win situation? This is a lose-lose one.

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Too Close To Campfire

Footwear is difficult to dry. Tennis shoes, God forbid wearing them, will have to be dried as clothing, but will take a long time to dry, and will be stiff and probably deformed to some degree. This bodes bad for developing blisters. Leather boots can also be saturated with moisture which will require a long drying process to draw all the water out. Trying to rush the process can result in the leather shrinking and distorting.

A sleeping bag, especially a good one, can be a life saver in a cold weather survival situation. However, if it gets wet or even really damp, it can quickly go from an asset to a liability, and drying it out is nearly impossible. Even if you do succeed in drying it, a lot of the insulating factor is reduced. Never place the sleeping bag in direct contact with the ground. Find some protective material, weeds, leaves, sticks, anything to avoid direct contact with the moist ground.

Personal hygiene can become a factor over an extended time period. You saying you want me to wash my naked body in the cold weather? Yep. The very conditions that help keep your body warm, preventing heat loss, can also cause the body harm, such as developing a rash. Washing away harmful bacteria will reduce the chances of developing rashes or other skin infections.

Additional issues to be aware of: Frostbite

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Too Late

We’ll delve a little deeper into this issue because it is so severe and common.

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. But frostbite can occur on skin covered by gloves or other clothing.

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The first stage of frostbite, doesn’t cause permanent skin damage. You can treat very mild frostbite with first-aid measures, including rewarming your skin. All other frostbite requires medical attention because it can damage skin, tissues, muscle and bones. Possible complications of severe frostbite include infection and nerve damage.

Signs & symptoms of frostbite include:

Cold skin and a stinging or prickly feeling.

Numbness of the affected area

Red, white or bluish-white or yellow skin coloring

Hard skin, clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness

Blistering of affected area after rewarming.

Frost nip is the first stage and does not result in permanent skin damage.

Superficial Frostbite is the second stage where the skin reddens then turns white. The skin may retain a soft feeling, but ice crystals are beginning to form in the tissue. Your skin may begin to feel warm, which is a red flag that serious skin damage is occurring. Rewarming the affected area at this stage will result in the skin appearing blue or purple and you’ll experience stinging, burning and swelling.

Severe frostbite affects all layers of the skin and the underlying tissue. You will experience numbness, then losing all feeling in the affected area. Joints and muscles will most likely not respond and large blisters will form 24-48 hours after rewarming. The area will turn black as the tissue dies and amputation is the only recourse.

I think you can see why I spent a little extra time on this subject.

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Trench-foot is another dangerous skin condition. The name is derived from WWI when soldiers in the trenches developed the ailment due to prolonged standing in wet conditions. The skin will appear pruned or shriveled, like your fingers do when swimming for an extended time. If not corrected the skin will turn a bluish or blackish color, the feet will swell making walking very painful. Simple solution is keep feet dry. A soldier will choose an extra pair of socks over almost anything else.

Dehydration can be a sneaky adversary. Water consumption is the first thing you consider in the desert, but rarely think about in cold weather environments, but it’s just as crucial for survival. Always check the color of your urine. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are even if you don’t feel it. You must stay hydrated, however, don’t pick up a handful of snow and eat it. The cold of the snow will drain body heat. Melt the snow to liquid form before consuming.

Lastly, let’s talk snow blindness, which is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays reflecting off the snow. Talk to anyone who has welded a lot and they can tell you the effects of ultra-violet rays produced by the arc welding procedure. Same for ultra-violet rays from the sun. You will feel a sandy grittiness in the eyes causing pain and discomfort which increases with eye movement. The eyes will turn red with increased sensitivity to light and you may experience a severe headache.

The only treatment for snow blindness is resting the eyes from any light. Depending on the degree of burn, this may include bandages completely covering the eyes, or bandages with slight slits or holes to allow limited sight, but maximum protection. Unchecked this could result in permanent blindness so take take it lightly.

The intent of my articles is to arm people with the knowledge to help them survive. I hope you learned something new.

 

The War of the Ostrich and the Owl

 

There was once a fable of the tale of a dispute between an Ostrich and an Owl that goes something like this:

One day an ostrich and an owl were discussing the day’s events when they spotted a snake slithering stealthily towards an unsuspecting mouse. Mr. Owl became very anxious as he analyzed the possible future results of what he was witnessing. In his expert opinion he knew the snake was poisonous and mice were its favorite menu item. Therefore, he declared the mouse would be killed and eaten by the snake. He thought hooting to warn the mouse of impending danger was the correct thing to do.

However, Mr. Ostrich begged to differ with the owl’s hypothesis, declaring he knew this snake personally and killing wasn’t in his genes. It just could not happen the way owl predicted. Just didn’t make sense. He adamantly disagreed with issuing a warning as it would only disturb the tranquility of the woods.

Well, the snake did not kill the mouse, for it was a black snake and preferred to dine on other snakes, such as the green snake hidden in a clump of grass nearby the mouse.

Moral of the story: Mr. Owl over analyzed and assumed more than he knew were actual facts. The snake was not poisonous, but it was a killer, and although the snake did not kill the mouse … it killed another snake.

Mr. Ostrich ignored all the facts that were quite obvious, it was a snake, it was hunting and it appeared the mouse was the target. Now neither were 100% correct in their assumptions, however, Mr. Ostrich’s failure to admit the snake was a predator and would kill resulted in the death of the green snake.

To be honest with you, this is not an ancient tale, I just made it up. But I wanted to demonstrate, what I think, the current difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats hoot a warning at everything, thinking they know all the facts. While the Republicans hide their heads in the sand ignoring what facts are known to be true.


This stupid illogical debate between, it’s hard to say, our leaders, I fear are leading us down the road of destruction. Let’s exam just a few small possibilities, that increase daily, which could spell the end of mankind as we know it.

As you read I hope you’ll come to appreciate fully the need to learn the survival tips and energy creating methods available … they may help you save your family.

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 The threat of nuclear war has suddenly increased exponentially.

There have only been two nuclear bombs detonated in war, those used to end WWII with Japan. The Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, but the horrors of WWII were still fresh in minds of the two world powers, America and Russia, and cooler heads prevailed averting a possible catastrophe.

Although more countries acquired the nuclear capability in the past 50 years, they were normal stationary societies, India for example, that were never considered callous in their intent of using nuclear power for destruction.

Recently, terrorists have embarked on a never ending quest to acquire and use nuclear devises to destroy, the Infidel. These threats are not localized but extend to every country on earth. The rogue nation of North Korea now threatens the world with their insinuations of setting America and its allies ablaze.

The North Korean dictator is an unstable and cruel person, killing without thought or concern, in order to maintain power. Would he start a nuclear war rather than lose his hold on the country. In my opinion, yes.

The world has UN-explicitly changed and now the world’s greatest power and holder of nuclear weapons is ruled by a man-child quite capable of unleashing a nuclear holocaust onto the world. Any world leader simple minded enough to insult everyone, no one is off limits including the Pope, and thin skinned enough to launch nuclear weapons because of a school playground round on name calling, is equally as dangerous.

Should these two, I dare say, madmen, unleash nuclear weapons the millions caught in the immediate blast zones would quite likely be the lucky ones. Their life is over, but the survivors will have to deal with the terrifying results while trying to maintain a slippery grasp on life.

The most terrifying, yet misunderstood threat of a nuclear war is the nuclear winter that will follow. The soot that would be lifted into the stratosphere would encircle the entire world blocking the sun’s power, resulting in multiple years of cooling and drying of the earth’s environment. (Estimates differ as the length of the winter, but who cares if it’s 5 or 50 years, the result will be the same)

Agriculture would wither and die, the oceans would become a dead zone and mankind will slowly die away and possibly become extinct.

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A Bio-engineered Pandemic is a current risk.

Natural pandemics, such as the Black Plague,have killed far more people than wars. Chemical warfare was used extensively in WWI and although the world recognizes the danger and signed pledges to never utilize the weapons, its use continues today, such as in Syria.

How ever horrible and deadly natural pandemics are, the threat of them being an existential threat to mankind is highly unlikely. There always seems to be people who are resistant to the pathogen and their off-springs are immune to the effects.

It’s also an unwritten law of nature that parasites do not wipe out their host, thus committing suicide themselves. Syphilis is such an example, once nearly totally fatal, it has evolved to a chronic illness.

The nightmare we now face is man’s ability to take a disease and make it more deadly than its original form. Mouse-pox and bird flu are two examples of how generically altered diseases can become more contagious and deadly.

Biotechnology is dangerous and expensive, thus most research is performed by governments for military use. The key here is wiping out an entire group of humanity is not militarily useful, therefore there will always be an anti-dote developed in order to control the infection.

But … as cost go down and fanatics become more extreme the possibly of nut jobs, such as the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which believed the earth is better off without humans, and released bio-weapons, is an increasing concern.

Super-intelligence could develop into an unstoppable danger.

I’d venture to say most people have seen one or more movies of the Terminator series, which pits machines against man, machines attempting to eradicate mankind. The movies are based on science fiction and just like the Flash Gordon movies of the past, could not possibly happen. But …. wait. Those old science fiction movies delved into man going into space, Dick Tracy had a watch you could view the other person you were talking to, the list of “no way that could happen” goes on and on. But … It has happened.

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We have already developed software that automatically, without any human input, improves itself making itself smart and faster. These intelligent entities are designed to overcome all obstacles in order to achieve a goal, whatever that may be. There’s the rub. What says the goal will be good?

Do machines have feelings, emotions, moral codes? Mankind doesn’t adhere to a strict code of conduct, why would machines? Even if we could infuse our morals into artificial intelligence, what do we infuse? Human values are diffuse, was Hitler just like us, and are quite difficult to explain. And if we could … would the machine understand or care?

Perhaps the scariest aspect of the intellectual technology is our complete ignorance of a time-table of evolution. What I mean is … we have a real good idea, damn near down to day, mankind took from discovering fire to putting a man on the moon. We just assume the evolution process of machines to mirror ours. What if a 1000 year era in humankind development was a mere 10 seconds of our super-intelligence software. Mankind could quickly be eclipsed by their own technology.

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Global Warming despite Republicans’ denial, is the one most urgent problems facing mankind as a whole. Wars can effect 99% of the population but weather affects 100% of every living thing, animal and vegetable.

I won’t go into great detail here, as you could write a 100 books on the subject, but to say … look at the weather. The world has just experienced hurricanes with such fury as they have wiped out complete civilizations’ habitats that have withstood hurricanes for 100’s of years. In spite of advanced building methods and increased awareness, entire islands were decimated.

Our own country, Miami, is being pulled into the ocean by rising sea levels. These recent events, although tragic, should be an alarm signaling the need to address the issues involving global warming, but alas, all we hear is there’s not quite enough evidence to say global warming is a fact. Perhaps when politicians in Washington D.C. must travel to and from the capital by boat, they may say there’s enough evidence we have a problem.

What infuriates me the most is we have no control over our lives when discussing the big issues. Oh, we can vote different people into office … bullshit! It makes no difference who goes there. They are immediately swallowed up by greed and power leaving any concern, if there was any to begin with, for the little guy. You & me.

We must take matters into our own hands in order to protect our families. That means learning every survival trick possible. Learning how to produce power from nature, hunting, purifying water, etc. etc. And yes, protecting our families from our fellow mankind. Harsh to say, but I’d rather be an owl and over protect, than an ostrich with my head in the sand and my bare ass exposed.

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Glad That Ain’t Me – Today’s Politician

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How to Survive in the Woods

 

Why would I need to know how to survive in the woods? That’s an understandable question, it’s a normal mental attitude that “It can’t happen to me.” But it can happen to anyone, yes including you. A wrong turn, a freak late spring snow storm erupts, the truck breaks down and we’re forced to walk miles in unfamiliar environment. There’s a multitude of reasons we could find ourselves suddenly lost, and terrified whether we want to admit it or not.

Now the question is … What to do now?

Most anyone can survive a night or two in the woods, unless the weather turns crazy, below freezing temperatures and feet of heavy snow, but surviving for an extended period of time takes a whole lot of thinking and skills.

This first rule is “Don’t Panic.” It’s more important than ever to keep your wits about you, think about the situation and develop a plan to deal with it. Any rash or hasty action could make a bad situation … worse, much worse. Remember, panic is an enemy. Take several deep breaths, sit with your head down, eyes closed if need be, until the surge of panic subsides and you return to logical thinking.

This is where we back up in time to before the incident happened. We’ll call this segment, preparing to survive. Survival, and the degree of discomfort you may endure, begins before you ever go into the woods. You watch television shows where people are dropped into hostile territory with nothing, sometimes not even clothes, and they survive reasonably well. For starters, these situations are fabricated and under close scrutiny of medical professionals. Additionally, most of these people are professional survivalist, experts in the art of subsistence living. We do not fall into that category. At least I don’t.

The first thing everyone needs to do is put together a simple survival kit and store it in trunk of the car or under your truck seat. This is a very easy and relatively inexpensive item to put together and if you think about it, it’s plain stupid to not have one in every vehicle. Whether you’re stuck in the woods or stuck in a ditch a few miles from home, I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. Not to be morbid, but there are more than a few stories of people freezing to death a mere few hundred yards from their home unable to continue.

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Sample Emergency Road Aid Kit

The kit, or bag, is simple. It’ll include such items as a fire-starter (much more reliable than matches or a lighter) water purifiers, an emergency blanket, a few hand tools, knife, perhaps a few energy bars and a bottle of water or two. Starting on any trip without a kit is asking for trouble, especially as easy and inexpensive as it is.

The next issue to address for how to survive in the woods is tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Will this prevent you from getting lost? No. However, it could make the ordeal must less dangerous and absolutely shorter. Most people won’t think of this and others refuse to do it because they are adults and answer to no one. That’s dumb. Letting someone know your where bouts doesn’t mean you’re not an adult … just the opposite. Then if you fail to return, the concerned person can let the proper authorities know of your intended actions and approximate location. Think that’s silly? Which is better … searching a 1,000 acre National Forest for you or not knowing what state to start looking or even if you’re missing. Law enforcement is hesitate to look for missing teens because most are run away(s) .. do you think they’ll seriously start looking for a twenty something aged person immediately? You may spend several days lost before anyone starts looking for you.

By the way, don’t count on your cell phone to locate you. Most rugged areas have no cell reception, batteries go dead and phones fall into water or down 100 foot cliffs.

Let’s get serious now:

The next thing to do in how to survive in the woods is, after accepting the fact you are indeed lost, is to completely stop all activity and think. Ever forgot where you laid your keys? Everyone has and it’s not because we’re stupid or getting senile, we are so preoccupied with everything going on in our lives we often act without thinking. You may amaze yourself at what you can figure out if you just stop and think. If nothing else it will stop you from hastily running off and taking action, which is usually wrong, but seems right at the time, wasting valuable energy which you very well may need to survive. Take inventory by asking yourself these questions:

Where do I think I am? Have I been in this area before, maybe only once, or not at all. Has the area recently been logged? This will totally change the looks of the environment, you may not be lost, only confused by the drastic new view.

What do I have with me? Hopefully a survival kit. If not take stock. Can of soda, light coat, bag of potato chips, mints, pack of matches.

What’s available around me? Are there lots of dead tree branches laying around that I can use for fire or making a shelter. Is there an available water source?

What’s the weather like? It’s going to snow, gotta find shelter as hypothermia is the most deadly killer of exposure.

How long until they realize I’m lost? Told them I’d be gone for 4 days … I must survive at least 5 days, probably 6 or 7.

What kind of condition am I in? Injured … not injured.

In some areas in America you can travel for days and never see any sign of civilization.

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The last thing you want to do is make your situation worse. If you aren’t sure where you are and absolutely sure of which direction civilization is located, stay put. Any additional travel could take you deeper into the woods or worse.

Rescue teams search areas for lost people in a plotted search diagram. They divide the area map into quadrants, search one area fully, mark that area off, and move onto the next area. If you are stumbling around lost you could end up going from the next quadrant to search to the area they just deemed clear. Rescuers do not back track into finished areas without a specific reason. You could have just killed yourself.

Next, minimize your most likely danger. Hypothermia. “But it’s 85 degrees!” Ironically several people die of hypothermia every summer in the Colorado Rockies. They’re normally fishing or hiking, fall into a stream late in the day and aren’t able to make it back to their car before the sun sets. Temperatures can easily drop to the 40’s in higher elevations and that is low enough, combined with wet clothing, to kill you.

Shelter and fire first. You know, for all practical purposes, you’ll be stranded for at least 5 days, therefore shelter from the elements is the first requirement. If you have a vehicle, say you broke down in the middle of no where, Stay with that vehicle. It provides excellent shelter, plus is a beacon to anyone in the air searching for you.

No vehicle. You’ll have to find or build a shelter. When searching the area for shelter be sure to clearly mark your path by piling rocks, breaking branches, something easily identified in order to return to the original spot. You don’t want to get lost from the point you were lost. (Makes sense?)

A cave is an ideal shelter. However, caves in the wilderness are seldom vacant. Bears, mountain lions and other creatures tend to enjoy the protection of a cave as much as humans do. Be very careful entering a cave and scour the area for any sign of recent activity. Fresh waste, pieces of fresh meals, vegetation such as berries are all signs to vacate the premises while you can. Even in smaller caves or cliff overhangs be particularly vigilant of snakes.

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No caves. Maybe a good thing. Now you must build a shelter. However, that’s an area for another post. In the meantime, look for a large pine tree. The limbs of the tree will extend to the ground helping ward off rain and wind. Once you navigate your way through the thicket of limbs the area next to the tree trunk will be open and even provide a bed of needles to sleep on.

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Starting a fire is the next step, which solves 2 major issues. It will keep you warm. Conserving energy is of the utmost importance in prolonging survival and the energy the body uses shivering to keep warm is wasted energy if it’s not necessary. The warmth of the fire eliminates this waste. Secondly, a fire will deter a wild animal from becoming too nosy. Animals by nature are usually repelled by the scent of humans, but there’s always that exception to the rule possibility. You don’t need any further complications in your otherwise awful day. Additionally, a fire becomes a companion, as there’s nothing worse than spending the night alone in a pitch black forest.

Use common sense when choosing the area to start a fire. Yes it’d be nice to have it close to your bedding, but that might be impossible. Clear the area of any flammable material, dried pine needles, leaves, etc. Pile rocks around the perimeter of the fire pit in order to contain the sparks and prevent logs from rolling out of the pit. Look up. Is there low lying tree limbs above the fire pit that could easily catch fire from floating embers? You want a fire for warmth and protection, not for burning the woods down.

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Shelter and fire obtained the next issue is water. If you have a vehicle for shelter and a case of bottled water in the back seat … you’re ready to go. If not, look for water.

Water will always adhere to gravity and will travel downhill. Walk down hill in a slightly meandering method, being sure to leave a trail to find your way back. Watch for animal trails, they’ll likely lead to water, as observing the flight patterns of birds, and lastly use your ears. You may hear the sound of trickling water and not be able to see it.

Getting Rescued:

The key to getting rescued, beyond surviving, is being found. You want to make yourself as visible to the world as possible. Searchers are experts in spotting things in the environment that don’t belong. You don’t belong and don’t want to belong, so make yourself visible.

If you have a vehicle .. stay at it. It’s a big target and definitely does not belong in that gully.

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Start a smokey fire. Once smoke rises about the forest canopy it can be seen for miles. For general knowledge, three (3) fires set in a line is an international signal of distress.

Mirrors or anything reflective can be used to signal a plane or helicopter flying overhead. No, it’s not like the movies where you shine the light directly into the pilot’s eyes, blinding him from checking out the stewardess. Again, Pilots are trained to spot anything out of the ordinary and a flashing light emitting from the ground is not ordinary.

There will be people on the ground searching for you. Visibility in the woods is restricted. Ask any avid hunter if a deer ever walked right past them within 10 yards and you’ll get a “Yep,” for an answer. Sound on the other hand travels farther in the woods than sight. If you have a whistle, blow it every 5 minutes or so. Sound in the woods is strange. The rescuers may hear your whistle, but you won’t be able to hear their calls back. So don’t give up.

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No whistle. Try hollering, beating on something with a stick, anything you can do to draw attention. After all, what else do you have to do?

Remember … you are responsible for aiding in your rescue. Making yourself as visible or loud will only increase your chances of rescue.

 

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Think Food is the Most Important Thing For Survival? Wrong!

 

The human body requires energy to function properly and energy comes from the food we eat. Therefore, using algebra if X=Y, Y=X. Food is the most important thing to find in a survival situation in order to function.

Makes sense, but … is dead wrong. No pun intended.

Water is the one most important thing you must have in order to have a chance of survival in a crisis situation.

You can live up to 30 days without food. Not saying you won’t suffer severe damage to body organs and you’ll definitely lose a lot of weight as the body consumes itself, but you will still be alive.

On the other hand. Try going longer than 3 days without water … well, you just can’t. You will die. Obviously, if we’re going to survive we must learn how to locate, create and purify water. Let’s begin.

 

Basic water finding skills:

There are basic differences of locating water depending on the environment, desert is different than jungle, rural vs urban, etc. we’ll touch on many methods as we proceed.

Much of North America has a plentiful supply of water, sometimes it’s unseen and you have to search for it, but it’s normally there. Remember, water is a strict disciple of gravity and will follow the path of least resistance, therefore, in mountainous areas try to walk downhill. You’ll eventually come across water.

Watch the sky for birds. Birds need water to survive and will congregate near water, although it may only be a small pond or pool of water contained in a rocky divot, it’s water. The same applies to animal trails, deer, coyote, turkey, sheep, etc all require water and will know where to find it.

OK Davy Crockett. You used your new found skills, followed the flight of the birds, kicking up a deer as you stumbled along looking skyward instead of where you’re going, and found a small stream and pool of water.

Eureka! Go drink your fill.

Not so fast Amigo. Chances are no matter how clean the water may look there are millions of nasty parasites swimming around it.

But … the birds can drink it and be alright!” You say with a parched voice. Birds can fly … can you?

Unless you want to chance having gut wrenching vomiting or diarrhea that makes you think you just dropped your a$$hole onto the ground … you’d better purify that water before partaking.

But How?

The most common way is to boil it. Bring the water to a boil for @ 15 minutes, let cool, then gulp away.

What? You just quit smoking so you don’t have any matches or a lighter, and have no idea how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Fine use purification tablets. What are those? Never mind. Let’s learn ways of making our water safe to consume.

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Using the Earth Itself to Filter Ground Water:

The ground itself makes an excellent filter, especially if it’s sandy. Starting at the pool of water, walk downhill about 50-60 feet away. The ground may look level, but very few places on earth are completely flat. Lay on your stomach, eyes to the ground and try to determine any change in contour, then decide which way to go.

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Once there, start digging a hole until you hit water. (There is no normal depth to dig as it depends on the water table level beneath ground) Allow the pit to fill with water, you may want to dig it a little deeper to allow more water to collect. The water will probably start out a little murky, give it a few minutes to settle and it’ll clear up substantially. If not dig deeper or move farther down the hill and dig again.

The water traveling through the earth from the pool will be filtered by the particles in the ground, thus becoming cleaner. Make a note: This same method can work on saltwater. The further inland you go the greater your chance of hitting fresh water.

Another Method: Using Household Bleach

Nearly all laundry bleaches, whether a name brand like Clorox or a store generic brand, contain 5.5% Sodium Hypoclorite, which is a chemical capable of purifying water. Do not use try to use powdered bleach. Do not use a scented bleach, you’ll find out why. (Tip: Having a small container of bleach and an eyedropper should be an essential in any camping or survival kit.)

Get the big stuff out. Place a piece of cloth, preferably cotton, but use whatever you have, over the mouth a container and gently pour the water onto it letting the water filter through but allowing the cloth to filter the larger particles.

*** If you have no cloth, let the sediment settle by itself.

This is where the eyedropper comes in. Add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water, 2 drops for a quart. If you were able to filter the water, shake the mixture up in order to disperse the bleach, waiting 15-20 minutes for it to purify before attempting to drink.

Don’t shake it if you couldn’t filter it, you’ll just complicate the situation, rather let it set for 30-40 minutes before attempting to drink.

That’s just great you say … but I have an empty soup can of dirty water not a gallon jug. What’s the equation for that? This is where a little logic and a whole lot of common sense comes into play. 1 drop would probably be sufficient, 2 at the very most, but not 3 or 4.

Properly treated, the water will have a very slight odor of chlorine. If you can’t smell the chlorine, repeat the process and allow the water to stand another 15-20 minutes.

On the other hand, if the chlorine smell is overwhelming, either add water and let set, or better yet … pour it out and start again using less bleach.

In an event you’re faced with using murky or green water, like swamp water, you must at least double the amount of chlorine used. 16 instead of 8 drops per gallon. The procedure is the same as above.

Again, if there’s a faint smell of chlorine the water is drinkable, maybe not desirable visually, but by this time you won’t really worry about what it may look like, only that it’s wet.

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By the Way … “How does Bleach purify the water?”

Wondering if you were gonna ask that.

Bleach is what they call an oxidant and will violently react with nearly every type of microscopic cellular life, including viruses, killing it. However, the bleach is consumed during the process.

Look at it this way … the Chlorine is poison and as the bad stuff eats it, they die. This is where the SMELL test comes into play. If there is not a faint chlorine smell after the elapsed time, then that means the bad guys ate all the chlorine, but the chlorine may have run out before all the bad guys could eat, thus leaving lots of microscopic critters still alive and ready to make you sick.

On the other hand … a faint chlorine odor means the chlorine killed all the bad guys and still has a bit left over. Job well done… safe water to drink.

 

 

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Science Be Damned

I was a jock in high school. Played football, defensive corner-back, wrestled, 133 lb. Class (ain’t seen that weight in many a year) and baseball, second baseman.

My grades were middle of the road, wasn’t too concerned about being a nerd, big mistake by the way. But as a whole I wasn’t a bad kid, mischievous at times, but nothing drastic. As long as I could comprehend class lectures and do a little homework I was fine. But … give me a class I had to buckle down and study for … it was easier to make excuses for not being in the top of the class.

Science was one of those classes, Biology to be specific. The teacher hated me, looking back I can see why, and I just couldn’t see the sense in learning what’s inside a chicken that makes it tick or whatever else nonessential information learned then forgotten for lack of use. I didn’t have the time or energy to partake in this charade.

Then something changed. I saw a Tadpole turn into a Frog. Let that one sink in for moment. You must remember when I was a kid there was no such thing as satellite or cable TV. No History, Animal or National Geographic channels which provide an infinite amount of information in a very entertaining and easily understood format.


I didn’t walk miles to school, uphill both ways, or study by candlelight, but by today’s standards it was quite elementary. Therefore, the actual witnessing and documenting the transformation of a tadpole to a frog was, for some reason, mesmerizing.

That normal, classic lab experiment, something kids born in the rural areas of course took for granted, wasn’t in any frogs in the city, rats, but no frogs, was an eye opening experience for me. It demonstrated how something could start out as one thing and morph or develop into something entirely different.

Why Tell This Story?

As I told everyone creating Ziva’s DIY Battery Restoration was a two fold project. For starters I wanted to try and supplement my social security and meager pension income by attempting, big on ATTEMPTING, to become an affiliate marketer. (Don’t believe “it’s so easy a child can do it”) Although I have nearly cried like a baby trying to figure out Facebook, Word-Press, Keywords and a hundred other things I know nothing about.

Sorry, a little pity party just erupted.

While researching a product to sell I ran across Battery Restoration, which seemed to exceed all my criteria. It offered a chance to make a few bucks, helped people who bought the program save a bunch of bucks, was a blessing to the environment and offered Home Based business opportunities for anyone interested.

I have been diagnosed a person with a compulsive personality. Now that ain’t all bad as it has at times, served me well in the past. I happily endured 100’s of hours fielding ground balls, building a back yard shed turned into a western town of several buildings and I could go on and on.

Due to this mental demeanor I dove head first into researching everything I could about batteries. I scoured the internet, researched my county library, anything to acquire the most information I could to pass along to my customers and readers.

What I Discovered

Batteries are but a segment of the overall picture of renewable energy, green energy, environmental issues, the whole big gambit of Energy. As I continued to research I realized this was a huge topic with huge issues swirling around it.

I also realized there were many ways, probably half I never heard of, to save and/or create electrical energy through various ways. Some avenues are monstrous and expensive, but many are simple and cost effective. And as I delve deeper it’s obvious I’m just scratching the surface.

Summary

The bottom line is: Ziva’s DIY Battery Restoration will transform or morph, just like the Tadpole to a Frog, into a Green Energy Resource. I will be exploring many many avenues of how to save, store, create, etc, etc energy. I will pass my findings along to you for your consideration. No high pressure sales pitch. Check it out … like it … buy it. Don’t … continue to explore and discover.