Trauma

There’s little argument that unless you are one of the elite 1%…we live in very trying times. We hear terms like trauma and PTSD thrown around by television doctors, physiologists, news people and talk show hosts, but do we really know what these terms mean? Do we have the slightest idea the toll it takes on a person and their family experiencing trauma? Hopefully not, because that means you or someone you love has experienced the roller coaster ride of a chaotic life and you were along for the ride.

The Hate effect that has swept the country in the last few years has caused these diseases to not only increase in number but manifest themselves in intensity. It may surprise you to know that victims of crime, soldiers exposed to battle and migrants trekking a 1000 miles in an attempt to provide for their family’s welfare and safety all experience these same identical symptoms. We will mainly explore trauma through the eyes of a victim of a violent crime, as we all have been victimized in some shape or form in our life and may be better able to relate to this example. Let’s begin with out sample case.

Any crime victim will experience the trauma of victimization as an aftermath of experiencing the crime. Although outwardly seemingly unhurt from the incident the victim will suffer a tremendous amount of physical and psychological trauma. The primary effects of the experience can be generally grouped into 3 main categories: physical injury, financial injury and emotional injury. There are also possibilities of experiencing secondary injuries.

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Trauma Issues

  • The physical injury is usually apparent such as cuts, bruises, fractured limbs, although internal injuries may also be present depending on the incident. It’s not unusual for physical injuries to be accompanied by severe fatigue, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much and loss or gain of appetite.

  • Victims suffer financially when their belongings, money, jewelry etc are stolen or damaged. They also suffer financially when insurance does not cover incurred expenses like hospitalization, medicine or funeral costs.

  • Emotional injuries may be the worse result yet of a crime. Not only is the victim affected immediately, but there may be long term problems for the victim and their family.

Some medical books describes a victim’s reaction to a crime as the Crisis Reaction. Most victims will react differently to the crime depending on the level of personal violation they feel they incurred. For instance a victim of a non-violent crime may feel less violated than a victim held up at gunpoint. This is not always the case as a victim of having their home burglarized may feel violently violated as their sanctuary of safety, their home, has been taken away. Trauma doesn’t restrict itself.

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There are certain common responses to the underlying reaction that a victim will undergo. These reactions may not happen for some time and these are not all inclusive:

  • They incur shock

  • numbness to the event

  • denial that it could happen to them or a family member

  • disbelief at the criminal act

  • anger … sometimes extreme

  • And finally recovery, which may be a week or may take a lifetime.

Nothing heals the pain and trauma but passing of time and sometimes that only barely lessens the agony. Here are a few tips for helping yourself or someone else cope:

  • Find a person you can talk to about your feelings with no fear of being mocked, privacy violated or any other fear. They must be trusted.

  • Allow yourself to feel the pain whether physical or emotional. It will not last forever, not at the current level anyhow.

  • Spend times with others, but make quiet time for yourself.

  • Take care of yourself, mind and body. This may not be easy, but is necessary. Rest, sleep, eat regularly and not just junk food

  • Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible

  • Re-take control of decisions caring friends and family may have taken over

  • Regain your routine, but move more carefully and cautiously as you may not be 100% yet and you don’t need an accident to compound the issue.

  • Recall things that helped you cope in the past. Prayer, mediation, reading whatever helped.

Let’s examine the shock and/or numbness effect of trauma.

Shock and/or numbness are usually experienced at the initial stage of the crisis event. Whether you are a control freak or not, everyone has control over certain elements of their life, or at least feels they do. Suddenly and without warning the person is in a situation totally beyond their control and this total absence of control leaves them numb and disoriented.

It’s at this point the victim will incur the Fight or Flight syndrome which is a built in self preservation mechanism God gave us and we literally have no, or very little control over it. It’s known as an automatic physiological response. As noted this is a self preservation response but most victims don’t understand their response to the emotion or their lack of control.

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A woman who took an intensive self-defense program in order to protect herself will be confused and embarrassed as to why when confronted she couldn’t initiate one defensive move she’d been taught. Or a man who turns and runs instead of standing and fighting will experience the shame of feeling like a coward, although that is not true. To rebut the person for their reactions results in secondary injuries which may never go away. “Once a coward always a coward type thing.”

You may ask how do soldiers, first respondents, police overcome this fight or flight syndrome control? Simply put … training. Ask nearly any person who became a hero for the moment and they’ll tell you their training took over.

Denial, Disbelief and Anger

During this segment of trauma the victim may or will most likely experience extreme mood fluctuations. Research shows victims nearly all react the same way. They will question fate:

Why did this happen to me?”

This couldn’t have happened to me!”

  • Many will experience dreams replaying the event, sometimes exactly as they remember it and other times distorted with crazy unrelated things interjected.

  • They may dream (nightmares if you will) about killing or causing great bodily harm to the offender. Torture becomes tantalizing.

  • Homicide victims may feel anger at the dead victim, reasoning if the person had done something different, not stayed late at work or took a different way home, they would not have been killed.

This will be a terrible time of trauma when the victim will contend with an abundance of emotional and stressful emotions such as:

  • Fear

  • Despair

  • Self-pity

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Anger

  • Hostility

Emotional help assuring them these feelings are normal and OK is important. Never make light of their pain.

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This is Real

Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome:

Historically this type of trauma was used to describe military veterans and was referred to as being shell shocked or having that 1000 yard stare. Researchers now apply this syndrome to crime victims and other victims of violent actions (like being tear gassed with your children). It must be noted not every victim of a crime or every soldier experiencing combat will develop PTSD. This is especially true if preemptive crisis intervention counseling is offered and taken.

Some recognizable symptoms of PTSD are:

  • Sleeping disorders/continued nightmares;

  • Constant flashbacks/intrusion of thoughts;

  • Extreme tension and anxiety;

  • Irritability/outbursts of anger;

  • Non-responsiveness or lack of involvement with the external world;

  • Prolonged feelings of detachment or estrangement of others; and

  • Memory trouble.

PTSD is a very complicated diagnosis and the presence of any of the above-mentioned symptoms does not mean that a person is suffering from PTSD. However, it’s my strong suggestion demonstration of these signs require follow up analyzation by a medical professional.

Secondary Injuries:

One must remember a trauma victim not only struggles with primary injuries, but also must battle secondary injuries. Most secondary injuries are provoked by the victim failing to receive proper support and understanding by trusted and/or loved ones. For instance:

  1. A soldier returning from combat will have trouble relating to their family at first. Either the family repeatedly questions the soldier about their experiences and the soldier doesn’t want to talk about them, or visa versa the family doesn’t want to hear about the horrors of war. This was a daily travesty for soldiers returning from combat during the VietNam war. They were met with jeers and hatred by fellow Americans.

  2. Victims of violent crime may be treated with the negative attitude by professionals that they were somehow responsible for the crime. They were dressed provocatively resulting in them being raped, or they had no business in that type of bad neighborhood. Sometimes people who ought to know better display the height of ignorance and indifference.

<> on April 1, 2014 in Nogales, Arizona.

Hate this one

This is not political, but as I write this piece I can’t help but think of the current immigration problems we are experiencing. I’m not arguing right or wrong, I’m arguing that we as God fearing people should look at what we may be doing to innocent people.

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Love These

A mother fearing for the safety of her children embarks on an unimaginable trek to the “Promised Land” (America) The distance she must travel is immense with daily dangers of being raped, killed, kidnapped and sold into slavery. The odds of the family making it all the way to America is slim to none.

Somehow they endure and are at the front gates of the prosperous, generous and tender heart Americans, Then their world collapses. They are denied legal entry to America, then are tear gassed and told they will never be allowed sanctuary. Stop and imagine that.

  1. A danger filled trek of thousands of miles on foot.

  2. Enduring unimaginable hardship along the way

  3. Then being tear gassed and told the family will never find safety

Trauma is a deadly emotional disease and we should take it more seriously than many of us do. Trauma doesn’t only occur in the movies … it’s real life. What are we doing to these children? Creating emotionally scarred and disabled people. Or creating a whole new generation of Bin Laden s intent on wrecking pain on Americans. Trauma is an uncontrollable disease with unknown results.

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Bug Out Bag-How to Build One

A bug out bag (BOB) is a cute name for a very serious piece of survival equipment. Many people don’t put enough serious thought into deciding which brand, what type of material,what size, etc. their bag should be. Just like there are no two people who are identical, the makeup of BOB’s won’t be identical. Let’s examine some issues.

Let’s begin with an easy question. Do you select a bag which is large enough to carry all the supplies you feel you need, or a bag that fits your body style and strength, leaving some supplies out? The easy answer … it Depends.

Doesn’t matter if you are addressing a real life crisis situation, or a weekend overnight hike, your intent is to be on the move. Therefore, the first requirement is the bag must allow you to carry it, fully loaded, comfortably for long periods of time. That doesn’t mean requiring help to put the bag on and only being able to walk a mile before you have to stop because you’re exhausted or the straps have dug so deeply into your shoulders you can’t take the pain.

Sounds like an easy remedy, buy a smaller, comfortable bag and adjust your supplies to the space available. You’ll be surprised if packed correctly, how much you can get into a small area. This is an answer, but not the only one. Anyone with military experience is probably snickering right now. The military decided for you what was required and you just had to adapt to make it work. Too heavy to lift and put on? Sit and attach it. Too heavy to get up off the ground after securing it? Get help from another grunt. Straps hurt? Get used to it.

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Many survivalists will agree with this strategy and they have some valid points. Supposedly, you have thoroughly researched your needs and decided such & such items are required for your survival. Based on that logic, if you start unloading vital supplies because of the weight factor, you are reducing your chances of survival with each eliminated item.

As usual, although sometimes hard to attain, a down the middle answer is the best. Attempt to buy a bag, that when fully loaded, is comfortable as far as straps, etc are not painful to endure, but the weight will tax your strength limit. You will become stronger as your body adjusts to the extra weight it is now carrying, although you’ll be sore the next day if you haven’t hiked in a while, plus as you use items the weight will reduce.

Deciding What to Pack

This research can drive you absolutely nuts. There are so many survivalist suggestions for the absolutely bare necessities you must include, from what I’ve found they are all excellent depending on the situation, but it’ll make your head spin and wallet shrink. If this is too much of a hassle to handle, or you just don’t know what you’ll need, you can buy prep-packaged bags ready to go. However, keep in mind no two bags are the same and they are constructed with a specific area and anticipated needs. In other words, a bag designed for usage in American Southwest (Arizona) would do little good in the Canadian Rockies. To have a bag that fulfills your every anticipated need, build it yourself.


Customizing Your Kit

Let’s begin with general categories of survival supplies:

Shelter/safety Protection …. tent, sleeping bag, etc

Water … sterilizing methods, metal cup, etc.

Fire … Methods to start a fire, matches, lighter, flint & steel, fire-stick, etc,

First Aid … small first aid kit is best

Hygiene … soap, tooth brush, etc.

Food …

Tools … fold-up spade, etc

The types of items you choose for each of these categories will depend directly on your personal knowledge. The more you know how to use various items, the more useful and efficient the items in your pack will be in an emergency situation and the less you will have to pack. It must be noted here, the bug out bag will be packed differently than a bag used for hiking, as it is designed to include items which will save your life in an emergency, not add to your enjoyment, like music playing devises. Although content will differ, packing strategy remains essentially the same as a properly packed bag will be easier to carry and will hold more.

General Packing order: Heavy items at the bottom of the bag … lighter at top.

Gear: Unless you’re going snorkeling, then it doesn’t matter, it’s important to keep your gear dry. There are professional grade plastic bags available, but I have found Ziploc bags work just as well. Lining you bag with a commercial grade trash bag will help keep moisture out and gives you an extra way of carrying things should the need arise.

Test Your Gear: Always test your equipment, and the best way to test your kit is to actually go and try it out. Spending time using your bag under non-disaster conditions will not only help you determine what is essential and what may be missing, but also allows you to test out your equipment and become more proficient with its use. Waiting until you’re lost before trying your handy GPS, which doesn’t work, is not wise. That’s all I’ll say on that subject.

Let’s Check Out More Tips:

Make your list of what you want your bag to hold. Double check it to make sure you haven’t overlooked something. Satisfied you have everything? Great. Now … start scratching items off the list. The bag is for essentials, not comfort, it can’t hold your entire life. Put it to the test. Think you need everything you have packed? Strap on the bag and walk around the neighborhood for an hour or so, then head out and take on some hills. Chances are you’ll be more than willing to discard items when you return home.

Once you have finished your trial and error procedure and have your bag packed, perform an inspection, at least semi-annually, to insure no food has spoiled or medicines or vitamins have expired. Rotate your stock. Such as a vitamin may be good for 3 years, but a particular food for 1 year and it’s already 6 months old. Replace.

Being new to the survival way of thinking there’s a tendency to buy everything available, just like a kid in the candy store. Gotta have it all. If money is no problem, then I’m not so sure you’re the type for a bug-out, but anyway, monetary expenses are not the only factor to consider. There’s a term known as opportunity cost, which simply means there’s only so much room in the bag, so much money to purchase things, so much weight that can be carried. If you are maxed out and an opportunity to acquire something more valuable or useful presents itself, you must either not obtain that item or obtain it and leave something behind in order to make room. That’s why it’s important to choose carefully what you pack.

Ever hear of Murphy’s law? If something can go wrong it will is essentially the meaning. Keep spares of items that are essential. Remember you are going to have to survive on what you brought with you. Two super compact yet powerful flashlights, like a Surefire E1L, pocket sized, is better than a super duper high intensity, it’ll light up a football field, that you have to discard because it’s too heavy to carry.

Plans and rules are made to be broken, but they serve a purpose. Have a plan in place and pack your bag in accordance to that plan. If you anticipate hiding near a lake, fishing gear is essential, hiding in a cave, flashlights and fire starting equipment is a must. You get the idea.

Learning skills will allow you to adapt, be more creative and require packing less equipment that you can substitute natural materials with, a limb line instead of a fishing pole, plus skills can be used as barter should the need arise. I strongly suggest packing a softback survival manual, nobody can know it all, but the book may contain it.

We will look at other factors in other posts, such as having multiple bug out bags, creating hidden caches and overlapping functions, but for now this is enough to digest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather Forecasting – It Could Save Your Life

That bone dry gully you decided provided perfect protection from wild animals and helped reflect the heat of your fire, keeping you toasty warm for your long night’s slumber, has instantly transformed itself into a raging, debris filled tsunami.

Had this scenario actually played out … chances are you are dead. If only you had known a storm was approaching there’s no way you have camped in such a potentially dangerous place. You didn’t read all those survival blogs for nothing. But … it was unavoidable, as Weather forecasting in the wilderness is not possible. Or is it?

Your local meteorologists, with the aid of billions of dollars of technical equipment, stationed around the earth and orbiting in space, can not correctly predict the future weather with 100% accuracy. Therefore, obviously neither can you using the primitive warnings our ancestors depended upon, but what if you could predict with 75% accuracy… 50% accuracy. Would you have died in that dry gully? I would think not.

Using Nature to Predict Nature

There are certain constants in nature that occur with a high degree of regularity. It’s on these constants we will build our weather forecasting skills. Beginning with clouds.


What is a Cloud and How Do They Form?

Most of the time the sky is actually full of water, but you can’t see it because the drops of water are so small they have transformed into a gas, called water vapor. As the water vapor rises higher in the sky, the air gets cooler, which causes the water droplets to start to stick to things like bits of dust, ice or sea salt. As they cool they bump into other droplets and join together, and when the drops become too large to float, gravity takes over and the droplets fall in what we call rain, snow or sleet.

Clouds are not of different shapes, colors, heights, etc by chance. These variances are caused by different atmospheric conditions which create certain weather patterns. If we can read and decipher what type of cloud is in the sky and why that particular cloud is there, we have a very good chance of predicting near future weather. Notice I said “near future weather.” I’m talking about today .. tonight .. the next morning. But, that’s all we’re concerned about with surviving. We’ll gladly repeat the process the next day.

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Cirrus clouds:

These cloud types are located very high in the sky and resemble thin streaks, swirls and/or curls, and are usually a sign of fair weather. However, be aware that these same clouds in cold climates, that begin to increase in number and are accompanied by a northerly directional wind, could indicate an approaching blizzard. I began with this cloud formation in order to demonstrate there may be other factors to consider other than just the looks of a cloud formation.

cumulsclouds

Cumulus clouds:

appear to be fluffy, heaped, piled up clouds. These clouds will settle much lower in the sky than cirrus clouds and are considered fair weather clouds. They will normally make their presence around midday in a sunny sky, but may become larger and move higher in the sky, resembling huge mountains of puffy clouds as the day progresses. Watch for any darkening of color, which could indicate they are transforming into storm clouds.

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Stratus Clouds:

lay very low to the ground making the entire sky gray at times, and almost always indicates strong rain.

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Cumulonimbus begins as a cluster of cumulus clouds which build up and form rain clouds, expect a thunderstorm.

CirrostratusCirrocumulus

Cirrostrastus and Cirrocumulus clouds indicate good weather.

Clouds Aren’t Our Only Indicators

The wind is also a good indicator of the weather. Wind is created when a high pressure area moves to a low pressure area, which means bad weather conditions. Weather moves West to East, therefore if you are facing a westerly wind, it indicates the bad weather is to your East and behind you, or if the wind is at your back, you’re heading into bad weather.

The air never stands still, but for all practical purposes can move slow it seems there is no movement of air. You may be able to tell the direction of the wind by throwing grass clippings into the air and watch how they fall, or wet your finger and hold it into the air, the cool side of the finger will indicate wind direction. You may have seen professional golfers doing this, as they realize there is a wind higher up where they will hit their golf ball, and the ball’s flight could be affected by the wind’s direction.

While sitting next to the campfire observe what the smoke is doing, as the direction it travels could indicate approaching weather conditions. When smoke spirals more or less straight up, you are in a high pressure area, indicating good weather. However, if the smoke continually spirals downwards back towards the flames you are experiencing a low pressure area and the possibility of experiencing bad weather is high.

Hear the old saying “Calm before the Storm”? It’s true. As a storm approaches, the low pressure area it’s riding will, or can, push the area’s normal wind patterns out of the area. This creates a temporary calming of everything, and can create an eerie stillness before the storm arrives.

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Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Smells become heavy as a storm approaches, you may smell a compost odor from the plants, or a swamp will emit a nauseous rotten egg smell from the decaying vegetation.

Notice the humidity in the air. Assuming you aren’t in a traditionally high humidity area, a rise in humidity could be a sure sign of approaching rain. Hair frizzing, leaves curling, pine cones closing (they stay open in dry air) are all signs of increased humidity, thus, possible rain approaching.

Let’s Turn Our Attention to Creatures of Nature

Some of these techniques will require patience and the powers of observation, but anybody can do it.

1. Make a mental note of ant hills as you travel or sit around. Ants will instinctively build their mounds higher with steep slopes before a storm. If you know the mounds are now higher, or you notice the ants building it higher … rain is on the way.

2, Birds can be a good indicator of approaching weather. As we discussed, when a storm approaches the air pressure will fall, which causes discomfort in a bird’s ears. Therefore, birds will fly lower to the ground, perch on power lines and lower tree limbs and concentrate on eating ground insects. If you’re by the ocean look for seagulls perched on the beach, indicating a storm approaching. Lastly, birds will become quiet before a storm, lack of singing or chirping could indicate bad weather.

Birds, sensing air pressure, will attempt to time their migration during good weather in order to be able to fly high without the discomfort in their ears created by low pressure. Flocks high in the sky is a good indicator of fair weather.

Of course birds must eat to survive, but they can also predict pressure patterns and duration. If the storm is going to be brief, usually birds will usually pause and wait it out. But if the storm will be there an extended amount of time, the birds will continue to seek food.

Cow, and only cows as far as traditional farm animals, can be good indicators of approaching weather. Cows will tend to lay down in the pasture before a rainstorm, because temperatures tend to drop before a storm and cows tend to like being close to the ground during cold weather.

Ever hear this old saying “ Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night … sailor delight” If you see a red sky in the evening that means there are clear skies in the West approaching you, meaning good weather.

Check out what the snakes are doing. Snakes, being cold blooded reptiles, historically come out of their nests only in order to warm themselves by the sun. If the day is not sunny or particularly warm and you see snakes in unexpected places or times, its a pretty good indicator rain is coming.

Turtles seem to do everything slow and that even means anticipating bad weather approaching. They have an uncanny sense of anticipating, therefore they will move to higher ground a day or two before a storm arrives. The old saying “It’s gonna rain because the turtle is crossing the road,” has a tad bit of truth to it. It’s not the crossing of the road per Se, although that’s when we see them, it’s they’re heading to higher ground and the road happens to be in their way.

I can not guarantee you that any one of these natural signs will definitely mean good or bad weather. But when several begin to align the possibility of bad weather approaching is nearly inevitable and we must remind ourselves of our original purpose. We’re not concerned about whether to carry an umbrella tonight. We’re concerned about not ending up swept away to our demise by a tsunami created by an unexpected thunderstorm.

Survival can be based on a whole lot of little skills that help us make logical and rational decisions. An educated guess of approaching bad weather can be the difference between life and death.
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Five Things That Will Save Your Life

Today I hit my wall. I have writers block. I’ve sat here looking at the blank screen, going to the kitchen for more coffee, going to the bathroom to get rid of coffee, and yet the screen was still white and blank when I sat back down. It’s not like I was embarking on a novel, a great piece of literature impersonating Hemingway, or a black horror mocking Stephen King. No … just a simple survival blog.

That’s when it struck me …. There’s nothing simple about surviving. We, and I mean Me, I, Myself, have become so reliant on modern conveniences I have severe doubts of my ability to survive without electricity much alone in the wilderness. I’m an avid deer hunter, in Missouri opening day is nearly a National holiday. I spend an entire week deep in the woods “roughing it” and hunting prey just like my ancestors. Then I really stopped and thought about it.

Yes, I’m in the woods, but in those woods sets a 34 foot camper with a slide out. Electricity is readily available operating the lights, microwave, radio, satellite TV, while the furnace runs on gas for heat, as does the stove and oven for cooking and baking. Water, hot and cold is supplied from a tank under the camper and is of seemingly endless supply.

Hear the old joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” I don’t unless I get the urge while out hunting. Which is very aggravating because I must secure my 45/70 weapon, careful not to bang the scope against the tree, they didn’t have that problem with muskets. Then I must peel off my $400 super insulated camouflage coveralls, I never take them off because my $250 boots are a problem to put back on with the insulated socks. If I have a disappointing day of hunting I jump on my Honda ATV and ride back to camp, and some of those logging roads are really rough and bumpy.

I’m ashamed to say, but that’s when I really realized my mountain man persona was fake. It was not done on purpose, no fraud intended, just honest role playing I guess. However, I was not alone. Like I said deer hunting in big in Missouri and the highways are lined with campers and motor-homes, $2000 to $150,000, rushing to the woods to rough it.

To these honest, hardworking people, male and female, my wife loves deer hunting, I dedicate this blog post. I’m going to strive to inform, people like myself, how to actually survive a catastrophe, man made or the wrath of mother nature.


The Beginning:

The first step to understanding basic survival skills is to recognize what is considered the greatest threats to your continued survival. Although dangers in the jungle differ from those in the desert, they all fall within categories of threats.

Exposure ….

Dehydration ….

Starvation ….

And in that specific order are your worse enemies, and pose the greatest threats to you and your family. Therefore, you must know these 4 responses in dealing with said dangers in order to survive.

Shelter ….

Fire ….

Water ….

Food ….

Drive these chilling facts deep into your memory if you think you’re playing Cowboy and Indians.

Extreme Weather, especially frigid wet conditions, can kill you in the short time span of 3 minutes.

A lack of water can kill you in 3 days through dehydration as the body shrivels like a prune.

No food will kill you in 3 weeks as the body consumes itself, eating fat, then muscle, then organs

It must be noted before continuing there are disagreements, difference of opinion would be better, within the survival community of which element of danger requires addressing first. Some say water, some say shelter while others maintain without fire you’re just wasting your time. Here is where you’ll have to utilize common sense. Caught in a snow storm … better find shelter. Desert environment … water is priority.

Let’s begin with shelter.

Short definition: “A structure that will protect you from the elements.” That protection can be in the form of an overhanging cliff, a fallen tree or a make-shift stick and leaves structure. Let’s look at 2 of the easiest shelters to build.

The lean-to is one of the simplest primitive shelters to construct, taking about an hour or so, depending on material availability, to build.

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Step one: Locate a strong, somewhat straight pole and secure it between two trees. You can lash it, wedge it between low branches, whatever it takes to keep it from moving.

Step two: Lean sticks against the side until completely covered. These can be stripped of leaves or full of leaves as long as they are strong enough. Then heap leaves, grasses, palm leaves, whatever helps block the elements.

The shelter is not perfect. It doesn’t hold heat and if the rain or wind shifts direction it could pose a problem. However, it is quick and easy to build with little or no tools.

The Leaf Hut. This is essentially finishing the lean to structure, but requires more work and time, but offers better weather protection and insulation. Select a sturdy pole at least 9 to 12 feet long.

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The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. To build one, select a long, sturdy pole 9 to12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the ridge pole. Place the ribs close together so that your hut covering won’t fall through. Next, heap vegetation over the framework (this can be anything that traps air, including grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs). Two to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides of the shelter is enough to keep you dry inside. Finally, fill the inside of the hut with a thick pile of vegetation for your bedding.

Fire:

Not to debate evolution, but scientist that do subscribe to that theory maintain man broke away from animals due to the discovery of fire. Not just for warmth, protection, etc, but they maintain cooking the food, instead of consuming it raw, helped build brain cells and … well, the rest is history. Believe the theory or not there is no disputing fire is a vital element in a survival situation.

ember

Don’t lose the ember

There are basic requirements for starting fire, no matter the method you use. You must have very dry flammable material which easily catches fire. Cotton balls, dry leaves, paper, wood shavings, dried moss, Brillo pad, paper money (won’t do you any good if you’re dead) cattails, the list is endless depending on location.

You must have elements (tools) in which to create an ember or spark. This can be two sticks, flint and steel, matches, lighter, magnifying glass, a battery, anything to create heat. Obviously some methods are extremely hard to perform successfully, while others are quite simple. I prefer simple. I highly recommend carrying some sort of fire-starter to insure success. Knives with built in fire-starters are available for instance.

Tip: Starting with an extremely flammable source of kindling is crucial and fabrication of a fire making tool (bow & string) can be trying. The actually physical effort required for starting a fire with primitive methods is exhausting and requires concentration. All this can lead to your forgetting to have an ample amount of small dry sticks to create a sustainable fire once you get your kindling going. Don’t forget fire building material.

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Did you know if you make connections across the two poles of a battery with a Brillo pad, you will start a flame?

Water: Unless you are in weather conditions which can lead to imminent death, like minus 20 F, I believe finding water to be the number issue to resolve, and I say that because lack of water leads to the quickest death of all other dangers.

Just because you locate water doesn’t mean problem solved. Salt water will have to be desalinized, debris littered water will have to be strained, all water no matter how clean it appears should be boiled. I realize you can filter water with natural products, charcoal, sand, pebbles, and that may be the route you’re forced to take. But if possible … boil the water.

Even if the stream water is relatively clean and safe to drink, there are still parasites that although not deadly, can still give you a stomach ache or a little worse. You’re in a bad enough situation, why take an unnecessary risk because you decided to get lazy.

Food: Our bodies are used to eating and it’s a natural reflex to feel hungry as the body realizes it’s burning calories and not replacing them. However, unless you are in an expected long term situation, food is the last thing to worry about. But if you have a shelter built, a fire raging and a good supply of water … let’s go get some grub.

There are literally hundreds of types of snares, some easy to build, others not so much. I don’t have the time, energy or space to list a bunch of different types. However, I’ll tell you about one that I bet you’ve never thought of … a rat trap. It’s essentially nothing more than an over sized mouse trap, but can easily capture small game, squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, etc etc. This is a low-cost, low-tech, and easy to transport device and by incorporating simple food-based baits with these traps, you can be sure to have food and fur at camp each night.

traps

Use your eyes to help your chances of eating. Scour the ground for droppings, rubs, foot prints, trails. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are in your area and are they a possible target. You may know moose are present, and you may even have a rifle, but a moose will range for miles and miles, an unlikely target.

Generally speaking, small game animals are active in the early morning and early evening. They are wary of being spotted by predators and cling to areas of dense vegetation and cover. They travel along the edges of open ground using fence-rows and waterways as a corridor. They are predictable and habitual; just like us. They tend to travel the same trails and will usually choose the path of least resistance. All of these traits can be exploited to put meat in your belly.

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Lastly, Butchering & Preparing Food:

The only reason I mention this skill, because every animal is butchered differently, is because you can totally destroy the kill if you don’t take care. Number one, a sharp knife is the Most critical tool you need. Ever hear the saying “You won’t cut yourself with a sharp knife.”? A razor sharp knife allows you the control to carefully cut whatever it is you’re butchering, while a dull knife will require undue pressure and a sawing motion. Ingredients for an accident.

Pretend you are undressing a doll. Sounds dumb but it’s the best I could come up with. Slice through the fur and skin, not too deep as you don’t want to contaminate the meat with bile from the organs, around the legs, the head and down the belly. Begin at the head and begin peeling the fur and skin off. This is not an easy task and some animals are damn stubborn about giving up their coat even dead.

squirrelgut
It will look better cooked

Remove all the internal organs, known as gutting, and discard, leaving only the meat to cook. Be sure to discard the guts far from your camp. You don’t want to eat it, but there are a lot of forest creatures, some you don’t want to meet, who will and they can smell it from miles away.

Survival is not just one thing. It’s a combination of education, experience, common sense, preparation and a host of other variables. Having all the fancy tools in the world won’t matter if you don’t know how to use them. Experiment, practice, read, observe. One day your life may depend on it.

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.

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

frostbitefeet

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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Become Deadly Accurate

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.

treatingtreachfoot

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.

 

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.