Archive for August, 2011
Posted by nwnikkie on August 23, 2011
Posted by nwnikkie on August 15, 2011
Posted by nwnikkie on August 15, 2011
One of the most difficult survival situations is a cold weather scenario. Every time you venture into the cold, you are pitting yourself against the elements. With a little knowledge of the environment, proper plans, and appropriate equipment, you can overcome the elements. As you remove one or more of these factors, survival becomes increasingly difficult. Remember, winter weather is highly variable. Prepare yourself to adapt to blizzard conditions even during sunny and clear weather.
Cold is a far greater threat to survival than it appears. It decreases your ability to think and weakens your will to do anything except to get warm. Cold is an insidious enemy; as it numbs the mind and body, it subdues the will to survive.
Cold makes it very easy to forget your ultimate goal–to survive.
COLD REGIONS AND LOCATIONS
Cold regions include arctic and subarctic areas and areas immediately adjoining them. You can classify about 48 percent of the northern hemisphere’s total landmass as a cold region due to the influence and extent of air temperatures. Ocean currents affect cold weather and cause large areas normally included in the temperate zone to fall within the cold regions during winter periods. Elevation also has a marked effect on defining cold regions.
Within the cold weather regions, you may face two types of cold weather environments–wet or dry. Knowing in which environment your area of operations falls will affect planning and execution of a cold weather operation.
Wet Cold Weather Environments
Wet cold weather conditions exist when the average temperature in a 24-hour period is -10 degrees C or above. Characteristics of this condition are freezing during the colder night hours and thawing during the day. Even though the temperatures are warmer during this condition, the terrain is usually very sloppy due to slush and mud. You must concentrate on protecting yourself from the wet ground and from freezing rain or wet snow.
Dry Cold Weather Environments
Dry cold weather conditions exist when the average temperature in a 24-hour period remains below -10 degrees C. Even though the temperatures in this condition are much lower than normal, you do not have to contend with the freezing and thawing. In these conditions, you need more layers of inner clothing to protect you from temperatures as low as -60 degrees C. Extremely hazardous conditions exist when wind and low temperature combine.
Wind chill increases the hazards in cold regions. Wind chill is the effect of moving air on exposed flesh. For instance, with a 27.8-kph (15-knot) wind and a temperature of -10 degrees C, the equivalent wind chill temperature is -23 degrees C. Figure 15-1 gives the wind chill factors for various temperatures and wind speeds.
Remember, even when there is no wind, you will create the equivalent wind by skiing, running, being towed on skis behind a vehicle, working around aircraft that produce wind blasts.
Posted by nwnikkie on August 12, 2011
The mini greenhouse can be built for less than $50 and an hour of your labor.
I built mine out of some left over 2 x 4’s. The greenhouse is 4 x 6 feet and 2 feet tall. It took 7 2 x 4’s . The reason for the 6 foot length was to reduce the number of 2 by’s and to not be too heavy. The 2 foot leftovers are used in the construction as well.
Steps to building the mini greenhouse:
- Cut two 2” x 4’ x 8’s in half to give you a quantity of 4 pieces of 2” x 4” x 4’
- Cut 2 feet off of 5 2”x 4” x 8’ to yield 5 pieces of 2” x 4” x 6’ and 5 2” x 4” x 2’.
- Screw or nail together two separate rectangles of 4 by 6 feet.
- Connect the rectangles together using the 2 foot sections of 2 by’s
- Use some scrap pieces of lumber to add a little height to the middle of the top.
- Connect the final 2” x 4” x 6’ to form a taller ridge in the middle (connected to the two scrap pieces in step 5)
- Cover the frame with 6 mil clear or milky plastic. I used some scrap lumber to hold the plastic to the frame along the long sides.
- Recommended: strengthen the corners or any sharp edges with shipping tape. The rubbing and flexing of the plastic on the corners will eventually cause some tears in the plastic without some reinforcement.
Using a Mini-Green house:
Put your plants in the mini green house and prop up one edge with a brick or scrap piece of lumber. If you don’t prop it up the plants can easily overheat.
Keep the plants watered and bring them inside when there is a danger of freeze or a frost. The green house does offer some protection from frosts (I left my plants in the green house during one night that had a non-forecasted frost and they survived) but it may not be worth the risks.
The mini greenhouse offers a lot of the advantages of a full size green house including increasing late winter and early spring temperatures enough for germination and good growth and increases the humidity. You can’t beat real sunlight to get plants off to a good start. It also prevents strong winds from stressing the plants.
The mini-green house is light enough to be able to open it (I roll it over on it’s side to water or move the plants) but still heavy enough to not blow over in strong winds. It does not have built in temperature control or heat but appears to work quite well in North Texas to help get your plants off to a good start. And best of all, it doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. After the danger of frost is over, it will go in the barn to be used again next spring.
Posted by nwnikkie on August 10, 2011
I have included this in another post but I have decided it is way too important to be buried inside another post. Here is a post of its own.
EDIBILITY OF PLANTS
Plants are valuable sources of food because they are widely available, easily procured, and, in the proper combinations, can meet all your nutritional needs.
WARNING – The critical factor in using plants for food is to avoid accidental poisoning. Eat only those plants you can positively identify and you know are safe to eat.
Absolutely identify plants before using them as food. Poison hemlock has killed people who mistook it for its relatives, wild carrots and wild parsnips.
At times you may find yourself in a situation for which you could not plan. In this instance you may not have had the chance to learn the plant life of the region in which you must survive. In this case you can use the Universal Edibility Test to determine which plants you can eat and those to avoid.
Remember the following when collecting wild plants for food:
Plants growing near homes and occupied buildings or along roadsides may have been sprayed with pesticides. Wash them thoroughly. In more highly developed countries with many automobiles, avoid roadside plants, if possible, due to contamination from exhaust emissions.
Plants growing in contaminated water or in water containing Giardia lamblia and other parasites are contaminated themselves. Boil or disinfect them.
Some plants develop extremely dangerous fungal toxins. To lessen the chance of accidental poisoning, do not eat any fruit that is starting to spoil or showing signs of mildew or fungus.
Plants of the same species may differ in their toxic or sub toxic compounds content because of genetic or environmental factors. One example of this is the foliage of the common chokecherry. Some chokecherry plants have high concentrations of deadly cyanide compounds while others have low concentrations or none. Horses have died from eating wilted wild cherry leaves. Avoid any weed, leaves, or seeds with an almond-like scent, a characteristic of the cyanide compounds.
Some people are more susceptible to gastric distress (from plants) than others. If you are sensitive in this way, avoid unknown wild plants. If you are extremely sensitive to poison ivy, avoid products from this family, including any parts from sumacs, mangoes, and cashews.
Some edible wild plants, such as acorns and water lily rhizomes, are bitter. These bitter substances, usually tannin compounds, make them unpalatable. Boiling them in several changes of water will usually remove these bitter properties.
Many valuable wild plants have high concentrations of oxalate compounds, also known as oxalic acid. Oxalates produce a sharp burning sensation in your mouth and throat and damage the kidneys. Baking, roasting, or drying usually destroys these oxalate crystals. The corm (bulb) of the jack-in-the-pulpit is known as the “Indian turnip,” but you can eat it only after removing these crystals by slow baking or by drying.
Universal Edibility Test
|There are many plants throughout the world. Tasting or swallowing even a small portion of some can cause severe discomfort, extreme internal disorders, and even death. Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt about a plant’s edibility, apply the Universal Edibility Test before eating any portion of it.|
|1 Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.|
|2 Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.|
|3 Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.|
|4 Do not eat for 8 hours before starting the test.|
|5 During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.|
|6 During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.|
|7 Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.|
|8 Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.|
|9 If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.|
|10 If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do not swallow.|
|11 If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging, or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes, swallow the food.|
|12 Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.|
|13 If no ill effects occur, eat 0.25 cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.|
CAUTION – Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.
WARNING – Do not eat mushrooms in a survival situation! The only way to tell if a mushroom is edible is by positive identification. There is no room for experimentation. Symptoms of the most dangerous mushrooms affecting the central nervous system may show up after several days have passed when it is too late to reverse their effects.
Posted by nwnikkie on August 10, 2011
Posted by nwnikkie on August 8, 2011
Making a solar still will enable you to obtain and purify water, even in very dry climates. Understand that only pure water evaporates, so that in the evaporation process, most of the impurities are left in the soil. Understanding the principles of the solar still will enable you to adapt to your own situation.
The idea for the depth of the hole is to dig down to where the soil is DAMP. Build your solar still in the lowest, dampest area you can find. At the base of a hill, in a dry streambed or at the base of a dried-up gorge. This is where ground water accumulates, thus being the best place for gathering it.