Tag Archives: Howard

Wildfires can Cost You, Your Home and Your Life

This is a subject that I have written on before and many of you may have read about it.   Not too far from where I live there are two major wildfires, both have destroyed structures.  Some of these structures have belonged to preppers.

As I watch the wild fires in Idaho and other states, I am sure that the same has happened there.  Now imagine what these fires would be like after TEOTWAWKI without fire suppression.  The fires would be bigger and totally out of control.  If you live in an area that is likely to have wildfires, make your plans now.  Some of these fires travel so fast that if you were on foot you may not be able to escape.  The following are links to several articles that I have written on wildfires.

How to Protect Yourself From Wildland Fires.

Evacuating Your Home

Fire Shelters can Save Your Life

A while back, a gentleman showed me his bug out location of which he was extremely proud.  It was well hidden in the backcountry, but totally surrounded by thick dry bush and manzanita.  Both of which burn fast and hot.  In talking with him, fire was something he had not considered.

Now if you live in the swamps of Louisiana, this may not be a problem.  However many of us who live in rural or even urban areas may face this problem.  In a lawless situation, there will always be people who start fire either on purpose or by stupidity.   One thing I have found you can always count on is stupidity.

Even if your location survives the fire, how does it affect your water sources plant life and wild game?  Make plans for this possibility now.

Howard

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Canning Pickled Beets

Beets are easy to grow and beetroots are easy to preserve.  Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid are but a few of the many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be found in beets.

The easiest way I have found to preserve beetroots is to pickle and can them.  The tops normally are eaten right away. Here is a recipe for pickling beetroots.  This recipe makes 7 pints of canned beets.

  • 10-12 pounds of beets
  • 1 quart cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt

Cut the tops and bottoms of the beets and wash them thoroughly.  Place the beets on a rack and bake in your oven at 400° F for one hour.  In the mean time get your water and jars hot in the water bath canner.

In a saucepan, mix the vinegar, sugar, water and salt and bring to a boil.  When the beets are tender, submerge in cold water and when cool, remove the skins.

Pack the beets in the hot jars (cut up or whole) and add the brine to cover.  Leave ½ inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Put the lids on and place in the water bath canner.  Process the beets for a full 30 minutes in boiling water.

Cool the jars, and check the lids.  They should all be sealed. Label the jars and store.

In an emergency this whole process can be done in a solar oven on a good sunny day.

Howard

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How to Maintain your Kerosene Lamps and Improvise Wicks.

 

Making the best use of kerosene lamps requires some practice, like everything else there is a learning curve.

When purchasing lamps, get extra chimneys, burners at least 2 or 3 of each and a substantial number of wicks.  I found some old wick material in rolls in a surplus store in Nevada.  About ten yards to a roll.  The wick store http://wickstore.com sells flat cotton rolls, 25 yards long for $9.50 to $14.00 depending on the width.

When using, everyday trim the wicks by rubbing the crust from them with your fingers.  Occasionally you may need to use scissors to trim the wicks.  If you have to use the scissors, trim the wicks so that the corners are rounded towards the center.  This will reduce the breakage of chimneys.  When you trim the wicks straight across the corner flames can flair to one side and crack the chimney.  I know this disagrees with what I have said in the past, but I continue to learn.

The burners will on occasion become clogged, if not cleaned.  Once a month boil the dirty burners in a solution of water and baking soda until clean.

Chimneys will often crack when lit in a cold room.  You will know the chimney is to cold if steam begins to collect on it.  At this point, turn the flame down low and wait for the steam to disappear and then turn the lamp up slowly.

Improvised lamp wicks can be made out of old felt hats and cotton materials.  First measure the width of the burner and the distance from top of the burner to the lamps reservoir.  Then cut your material to size and insert into the burner.  If your material is too thin, you can double or triple it and sew it together.  Tightly woven dishtowels work well.

Howard

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Posted in lighting, Self sufficiency | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Get Rid of Lice.

Head lice

Today’s post is on lice.  Lice or louse (the plural of lice) is the common name for three types of parasites that effect humans.

A louse’s egg is commonly called a nit.  Lice attach their eggs to your hair with saliva. The saliva/hair bond is very difficult to sever without specialized products.

Head-lice is most frequent on children aged 3–10 and their families.  Currently approximately 3% of schoolchildren in the United States contract head lice.  Females are more frequently infested than males.

Head lice are spread through direct head-to-head contact with an infested person.  Lice feed on blood once or more each day by piercing the skin with their tiny needle-like mouths.  When feeding they produce saliva, which irritates the skin and causes itching.

The most common symptom of lice is itching on the infected area which normally intensifies 3 to 4 weeks after the initial infestation.  To diagnose head lice, the entire scalp should be combed thoroughly with a louse comb.  A louse comb is an extremely fine tooth comb that when ran thought the hair will remove lice and nits.  The teeth of the comb should be examined for the presence of living lice after each time the comb passes through the hair. A recent study in the British Medical Journal found that fine combing wet hair with a lice comb was four times more effective in getting rid of head lice than malathion or permethrin based lice shampoos.

Body lice lay eggs in clothing and bedding, rather than at the base of hairs.  The most common location for bites are around the waist, groin and armpits.  All places where clothing seams are most likely to touch your skin.  Body lice are common in crowded and unhygienic living conditions, such as refugee camps and shelters for the homeless.  Body lice bites can spread contagious diseases such as typhus, relapsing fever or trench fever

Pubic or crab louse is a parasitic insect which spends its entire life on human hair and feeds exclusively on blood.  Humans are the only known host of this parasite.  It is normally spread through sexual contact.

Methods to get rid of lice

Smother the Lice!

Nearly all home remedies rely on some method to suffocate the lice. Coat the hair with olive or almond oil and then comb.

A number of essential oils have been shown to be effective combined with combing to eliminate lice. Before you use any essential oil on a child, put a small drop on the back of your child’s hand to check for allergies.

Comb them out

Comb the hair everyday for three weeks with a lice comb, combined with washing the hair with shampoo and hot water can eliminate head lice.

After using the comb soak it in vinegar for 30 minutes or boil it in water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Getting rid of body lice

Body lice prefer unsanitary condition, washing and changing your clothing, combined with regular bathing will normally get rid of body lice.  In addition carefully shaving your under arm hair and the hair around your genitals will help.

Getting rid of pubic lice

Shave your pubic regions or comb them out using a lice comb.  This combined with frequent washing will normally solve the problem.

Over the counter medications.

Any pharmacy can provide you with over the counter medications that will normally kill lice.  It may pay to stock some of these in your preps and don’t forget a lice comb.

The last thing

Wash clothing, bedding, hats, scarves, pillowcases, and towels worn or used by the infested person or persons.  Louse and nits are killed by exposure to water temperatures greater than 129° F for or sealed in a air tight plastic bag for two weeks.   If you have an infestation wash your hair as often as possible.

Howard

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Posted in medical, Sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shortages of Soap Caused Serious Medical/Hygiene Problems

My mother says that during WW2 shortages of soap caused serious hygiene problems in England.  Soap was shortages of soap caused problems in WW2rationed and hard to get.  Lack of hygiene can result in skin and other medical problems.  My mother was an infectious disease nurse at the beginning of the war and later served in the British Air Force.  She recommends that we store extra soap and hygiene supplies as well as learn to make our own soap.

Hand soaps - Bar soap keeps better than the new liquids, which can evaporate, if stored in the heat.  Figure out how much hand soap you use in a given period and double the amount.  You will probably be dirtier than normal. Salmonella, campylobacter, MRSA, flu, diarrhoea and sickness, the common cold, impetigo, are some of the viruses and infections passed between people who do not wash their hands.

Dish soap - liquid, or powder.  The soap should be biodegradable because you may have to use the grey water for your garden.  Look for soaps that will work well in cold water.

What do you do when the soap and scouring pads run out?  Scouring pads can be replaced with clean sand.  Rub the inside of your pans with sand and a little water.  This will remove caked on grease and food particles.  It will not remove fats and oil from your dishes.

Fats and oils can be removed by using wood ash.  Obtain pure wood ash.  Do not use ash from a fire in which you or others have burned plastics or garbage.  Scrub the dishes with the wood ash and water.  You can heat the water by adding hot coals.  Be sure the water is boiled, treated, or filtered.  Do not wash or rinse your dishes in contaminated water.

Laundry soap – It should be biodegradable.  Consider putting in a clothesline.  Do you have a washboard and tub?  I think powdered soap will store better than liquids for long term storage.

Sun washing clothes - In an emergency if you have a real water shortage, shake your clothes out and spread them out in the full sun.  The more the clothes are exposed to sun, the better.  Sun washed clothing will feel cleaner and smell better.  The ultraviolet radiation will kill off the bacteria that live in your sweat and dead skin cells.  Do not forget to sun wash your sleeping bags and bedding.

Howard

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Cooking Rattlesnakes

Western Diamond Back Rattler

In the area in which I live there is a good source of meat that many people refuse to eat, but that I think is delicious.  I am talking about rattlesnake.  Now I know you always hear that it tastes like chicken, don’t believe it. It tastes like rattlesnake.  The closest like I can think of in taste is alligator.

They are easy to clean and cook.  After you kill the snake, be careful of the head.  The head still contains poison that is dangerous.  Dispose of it where children and animals can’t get at it.  Once the head is removed, the next step is to skin it.  An easy method is to hang it up by the tail so that the belly faces you.  Take a pair of kitchen scissors and insert one of the blades under the skin and slit up the belly.  Now just peel the skin off.  The intestines can now be easily removed.  Wash the snake and it is ready to cook.

The snake can be cooked in various ways, frying, grilling, baking or used in stews or chili.  Some recipes will require that you debone the snake.  One easy way to debone the snake is to simmer it in water with a little lemon juice added.  After it has simmered for about an hour the bones are easy to remove.  If you are short of fuel, this is a good place to use your Wonder Oven (The Wonderful Wonder Oven/box).

The larger snakes are better on the grill, the larger pieces stay together better.  The small ones are better used in stews or chili.  With a good barbeque sauce, grilled rattlesnake is a treat.  This same method can be used for any snake.

Howard

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Posted in cooking, hunting | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Some Businesses, I Feel Comfortable Recommending

I am writing a bit late today due to computer problems.  But anyway, here it is.  This is a blog that I have been debating on whether or not to write.  I have been asked on many occasions, who do I purchase preps from?  Since I wrote the blog on how to recognize a good company, I have been contacted be several people wanting recommendations.

First of all, I want to qualify a few things, one I have only dealt with a limited number of companies.  Second, just because I do not name them does not mean they are not a reputable company, it just means I haven’t dealt with them.  There are many fine companies that I will not mention.

Freezedryguy.com, I have dealt with them for about 30 years.  There are an excellent source of Mountain House and other dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.  He carries good quality products and tries to stick with American Made.

DisasterStuff.com, They have a store located in Roseville, California and sell through the internet. They carry a large variety of preparedness items including water filters, dehydrators, solar ovens and grinders.  They also sell food and first aid supplies. The owners are reputable and will stand behind what they say.

sierrasolar.com located in Grass Valley, California.  They are an excellent source of information on the use of solar, wind and water for alternate power.  There catalog and website provides you with lots of information and a large selection of products at fair prices.  There staff is highly qualified and can offer you a lot of guidance if you are thinking about going off the grid.

SurvivingNstyle.com a small store with a good selection of supplies located in Twin Falls, Id.  They have quality gear and their prices are fair.

stpaulmercantile.com, they are a good source of kerosene stoves and Aladdin lanterns.

Honeyville.com  has two locations one in Southern California and a second in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They are primarily a food supplier and carry a good selection.  You can find them on the internet.

bestglide.com is an excellent source of mil spec and commercial survival gear.  They provide a lot of survival kits and supplies to the airline industry.  The only thing I don’t like about them is that they still carry Wise Foods, which I think is a substandard product.

Emergency Essentials, a Utah based Company with several stores located throughout the state.  They are basically a good company and I have never had a problem with them.  However you need to be a bit selective they do carry some miscellaneous items that I consider substandard.  I do not recommend their seventy-two hour kits.  They are a good source of Mylar bags.

As I said at the beginning, these are people that I have dealt with and feel comfortable recommending.  There are many other good companies out there and if you want to recommend someone feel free to send in your comments.

Howard

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Fire Starting Requires Practice

Last week my husband challenged me to start a fire with anything I could find in the yard. Well folks, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded or I thought it would be to start a fire.

We all watch these programs on TV were they are out in the woods on a survival program and have to start a fire.  Sitting in your house watching them working and working to start a fire I am thinking to myself how stupid some of them are, because they can’t get a spark or find the materials needed.

Well let me tell you I don’t make fun of them anymore. Being challenged as I was, I went out in the yard looking for dry wood and any dry grass I could find and set out to start a fire.  All he gave me was a  Swedes fire steel and nothing else, I put the grass in a little round bowl like form and put my fire steel next to the grass and started scraping away on it to get a spark, nothing happened. I kept trying and trying until I got fed up.

I finally went in the house and cut some jute from a roll, separated it so it looked like a birds nest.  Then I put it next to the dry grass and I only had to strike the fire steel twice and it caught right away.  But of course, I cheated using the jute string to start the fire.  So what would I have done out in the woods or on survival program?  Of course the out come would have been no fire of course, unless I practiced more with what I could find or took with me some items to help start a fire.  (ie. jute, matches, Vaseline soaked cotton balls, etc).

So don’t say oh, I can do that or that looks easy, anybody can do that.  Well my words came back to haunt me and I now know that I need to practice a lot more and not count on my husband always being around to help me. My next test is starting a fire in bad weather. Since I will be doing a lot of practicing from now until then, I will let you know how I do this fall.

SOOOO what is the word we need to remember: PRACTICE AND PRACTICE

Preparedness Mom

P.S.

I have been trying to tell her for some time she needed to practice and not just assume she could do it.

Howard

 

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Posted in Self sufficiency, Seventy-two hour kits, survival | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Car Safety Feature that Could get You Killed!

One of my cars has a so-called safety feature that concerns me.  As soon as you put it into gear, the lights automatically come on.  Now under normal circumstances this is not bad.  It definitely makes you safer during normal driving.

But what about during an emergency situation in which you want to move the car and avoid detection.  If you need to leave a location or move your car clandestinely at night, you need to be able to turn the lights off.  Imagine throwing it into gear and the lights automatically come on.  Your cover is now blown.

Many of the newer vehicles have this feature.  Now I am not going to tell you now to turn this off on your car, because frankly I don’t know.  They are all different.  What I am going to suggest is that if this is a concern to you, find out how to turn this feature off on your vehicle.  On some vehicles, you may be able to pull a fuse, on others you may need to cut a wire.  If you are a good mechanic, you may want to install a manual cutoff switch.

Don’t forget the brake lights come on when you hit the brakes.  Don’t drive with these lights out except in a life or death emergency.

Just something, you might want to think about.

Howard

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Posted in Operational Secrecy, Transportation | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

What you need to know to Help You Evaluate New Businesses and Gear

Lately I have been seeing a large amount of questionable information showing up on the web.  Due to the increasing interest in preparedness, many new businesses have entered the field.  As with anything, some are good and some bad.  When I am evaluating a business, there are several things that I always look for.

How long have they been in business?  Time can often be a good indicator, bad business and scams often fail.  For instance Mountain House, they have been there for about 50 years and are still standing strong.

What is there overall reputation?  Be careful on this one and make sure you are not judging by the amount of money they spend on advertizing.  Some of the less reputable new businesses have a lot of money behind them.

How good is the information they are putting out?  Now I know that not everybody agrees on how to do everything, but does the information they are putting out work?  Try it yourself and see.

Are they an expert in everything and never are wrong?  You can know a lot, but none of us knows everything.

Where are their products from?  Are they selling cheap Chinese knock offs?  Get the best gear you can afford.

Beware of gimmicks, stay with the tried and true.  Now I am not saying to avoid all new ideas.  But be careful, every week I see something new and often they will not stand the test of time.

Beware of anything that is one size fits all.  I see this a lot in survival kits.  No one kit will work everywhere and work for everyone.  You need to test the equipment in your area and see what you need.

Whether it is a source of information, food or gear, spend some time evaluating it.  Too many of us accept everything we see on the internet as the truth.  Be a skeptic.

Don’t hesitate to mention businesses you have had problems with in the comments

Howard.

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