8 Tips For Placing Your First Survival Food Order

veggies

I’ll never forget my first, official order for survival food. My friend,  Chrystalyn, was a pro at this, and she guided me through a bewildering order form with products and container sizes I didn’t recognize.

A #10 can? What was that?

A #2.5 can? Is that what I need or is the #10 size better?

What is wheat germade and will my kids eat what I’m buying since it’s not in name-brand cans?

Survival Food Ordering Made Easy

If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ordered wheat germade at all and would have ordered far more #2.5 cans of cocoa! Yes, we prefer brownies to hot cereal!

From years of experience, I pass on to you a few simple ways to determine what to order from survival food companies, such as Augason Farms, Thrive Life, and Emergency Essentials.

My 8 Tips For Placing Your First Survival Food Order

1. What produce do you use most often in the kitchen? Jot down the fruits and vegetables that you typically buy at the grocery store. Those will be the best choices for your early purchases, since you know they won’t go to waste, and you use recipes that incorporate them.

2. What are a few of your favorite recipes? It’s a good idea to stock up on those ingredients. Example: a hearty pasta and sausage dinner recipe. You could buy sausage crumbles, Italian herbs, dehydrated onions, freeze dried mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and macaroni. Of course you can use some of those same ingredients in other recipes, and that versatility is great.

3. Consider the staples you use most often: sugar, baking powder, herbs, etc. and then compare the food company’s prices to what you typically pay at a grocery store. Keep in mind that these products will be packaged for long term storage unlike those purchased at grocery stores. That is a big bonus. When we moved to a humid environment, several of my cardboard containers of salt were ruined.

TIP: Which size should you choose when shopping for these foods? Here is a link to my complete answer to that question.

4. Keep in mind the importance of snacks. My kids love the yogurt bites in all the various flavors. Perhaps order a few snack items in either the pouch or #2.5 can sizes to try these out. The smaller containers are also good for emergency kits.

5. Do you have some just-add-water meals for emergencies or power outages? Each company has their own varieties to try out. Make sure you give them a taste test, though, before buying in large containers or quantities. They’re lightweight, nutritious, and if you can manage to boil 3 or 4 cups of water, you have a meal in about 15 minutes.

6. When it comes to the various types of meat and poultry, which do you use most often? Prioritize those and then buy smaller containers of the ones you tend to buy and use most frequently. Give them a try in some of your recipes. If you really like the flavor, texture, and convenience, then you’ll know what to stock up on. As always, customize this to your preferences and the recipes you make most often.

7. You’ll need some meal-stretchers, such as rice, small pasta, certain grains, and beans. I like this category because these foods are versatile on their own, but then, when added to a casserole or soup, they help provide many more servings, as well as more nutrition and fiber.

8. Stock up on ingredients for soup. You may not make soup very often, but it’s an ideal recipe for survival scenarios. The concept is simple (start with a broth of some kind) and then add whatever is handy. Have a balance of veggies, proteins, and grains, and you’re good to go.

Gangs WILL Rule The Cities

rules

by Ken Jorgustin

Here is one possible outcome for those living in the cities following a full-on SHTF collapse:

After TSHTF, Gangs may become the Number One problem in cities of any size. The gangs may take over a city very quickly starting with their own blocks and neighborhoods. Their numbers may grow very rapidly as those desperate for water and food will become their “new recruits” and may join for their own survival.

The gangs may become a formidable wrecking force for a number of logical reasons, and might be the downfall of many who are preparedness-minded while still living in the city…

Re-posted for your fresh input:

Gangs already rule the dark ‘underground’ of today’s cities. When TSHTF they will be unleashed and unbounded, enabled by the chaos that will become the new reality.

During this time, most law enforcement officers will be more concerned about the safety and well-being of their own families in their homes, and will likely choose to stay and defend their own property instead of leaving it behind to “go to work”.

People living in cities, or even the immediate population-dense suburbs, will be subjected to a very cruel and unusual environment. They will be HIGHLY at risk from foraging gangs.

Think about this… It is one thing to protect yourself and your family from an intruder who wishes you harm. But how will you protect yourself and your family from a gang mob?

The thing is, even in good times (today?) the gangs are armed with weapons, have honed their criminal skills, and are not afraid to use them. Can you imagine this after TSHTF?

Gangs WILL rule the cities.

Most of us living our lives today do not see the underworld, the underbelly, the gang and criminal activity lurking beneath the surface, the drugs and dealings… They cleverly hide it, and it lives largely in the shadows of our streets. If you know what to look for, you can find it and see it, but most do not as they are too busy texting, tweeting, or talking on cell phones as they blindly travel the streets.

It will be a shock when it happens – when the $hit hits the fan.

Many preppers and/or preparedness-minded people living in the dense population of the city or suburbia believe that they will stay put and make it on their own after TSHTF. This will NOT be the majority case in my opinion. Confronting or evading a roving hostile foraging gang may be suicide or impossible for most.

It’s all about the numbers.

10, 20, 50 (or more) of them and 5 (or less) of you? Who’s going to win?

It will take clever planning, particular assets (which will be running out), and ‘enough of you’ (an adequate number of you) to deal with this threat. If you do not have overwhelming numbers or overwhelming defensive measures and/or protection, you will be wise to choose a plan that avoids direct confrontation altogether.

Here’s one idea: Move out of the city before the SHTF. Move out of densely populated suburbia.

We all ‘hope’ that the $hit will never hit the fan – causing a terrible collapse and social chaos scenario. We ‘hope’ that the-powers-that-be will hold it all together for years to come. We ‘hope’ that because things have always been fairly peaceful in our lives, that they always will be. We ‘hope’ that all the things that we’re discovering about the systemic risks we’re facing are just overblown and exaggerated. We ‘hope’ that the mainstream is right and everything’s mostly okay out there.

The things is, we’re living in a bubble. A cocoon. We have a very false sense of security that has only existed for a VERY small slice of time on the timescale of human civilization. We are living in a technological fantasy world of sorts. Our sense of security could be blown out of the water in an instant. Be aware of where you live and whether or not you will be in immediate danger of gangs who will TAKE your food and supplies (and worse) as they feed their needs to survive after TSHTF.

We must accept that ‘if’ the $hit hits the fan, that gangs will probably become your worst nightmare. And these may not be the stereotypical gangs that you visualize in your mind… they will include hoards of desperate people willing to do anything to survive.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

What’s your opinion about so called ‘gangs’ ruling the cities after collapse? Will this element organize enough to become a substantial roving threat? Will they remain in smaller groups as they forage through the city for supplies? Will a single household stand a chance against this element?

It’s That Time of Year Again: Prepping for Cold and Flu Season

What could be more beneficial to you in the advent of the Common Cold/Flu  season than knowledge on how to treat and prevent them from occurring in the first place?  Except maybe some of JJ’s chicken soup (which is pretty darn good, by the way….I make it with rice and a ton of celery and carrots)?  Well, I can’t send all the soup, so this will have to suffice.  Take this info along with you as the weather cools and you’re spending more time camping and hiking in the cold weather.

 

It’s That Time of Year Again: Prepping for Cold and Flu Season

nutrition

What could be more beneficial to you in the advent of the Common Cold/Flu  season than knowledge on how to treat and prevent them from occurring in the first place?  Except maybe some of JJ’s chicken soup (which is pretty darn good, by the way….I make it with rice and a ton of celery and carrots)?  Well, I can’t send all the soup, so this will have to suffice.  Take this info along with you as the weather cools and you’re spending more time camping and hiking in the cold weather.

 

The Cold Hard Facts on the Common Cold

The Common Cold is defined as an acute infection of any and all parts of the respiratory tract from the nasal mucosa to the nasal sinuses, throat, larynx, trachea, and bronchi. Most people come down with a cold at least once per year.  School-aged children are most susceptible due to the facts that their immune system is not as highly developed as and adults, and that they are in close proximity to a larger “pool” of sick little minnows.  Perhaps that is where the word “school” takes its true meaning!  Cigarette smokers also have a higher risk and longer recovery time for the cold.

In terms of etiology, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold.  Some examples are rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, and coronaviruses.  For this reason (size and diversity of the viral origin) it is very difficult to identify the exact cause of the organism.  The colds are never really cured; for the most part, the symptoms are addressed and an attempt is made to ameliorate the sufferer’s condition.  The common cold causes more lost work time and absence from school than any other ailment.

On average, people in the U.S. spend more than $1 billion each year on nonprescription medicines and treatments for the common cold and its symptoms.The symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • the swelling of nasal mucosa, increased mucus production
  • cough
  • swelling of the throat lining
  • sinus pressure with or without watery eyes
  • lethargy
  • loss of sleep.

The symptoms can last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.  Should the cold run longer than 10 days, be accompanied by fever, or have systemic conditions, this may be an indication that something more serious is underlying.  In this case, contact your physician for an appointment immediately.

How to Get Better

The offending organism/virus may be present in nasal secretions for 1 week or even longer past the initial onset of the signs and symptoms.  It is important for this reason alone to dispose of all Kleenex and tissue paper used to expel mucous, and to control handkerchiefs so they have no contact with anyone else.  As mentioned earlier, patients treat the symptoms and suffer through the cold until it has run its course.  There are several over-the-counter (OTC) medications available to the cold-afflicted person.

Analgesics: painkillers for aches, pains, and muscular soreness; some are also fever-reducers; these include Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Aspirin, and Ibuprofen (Motrin).  Follow the instructions on the label. Generally they should be taken with food and water.

Antihistamines: these decrease the nasal secretions of mucous by blocking the actions of histamine. One example is Chlorpheniramine.

Cough Medicines: these fall into two general categories – 1. Expectorants: these increase the amount of phlegm and mucous production to make the cough more productive; the secretions gradually remove the organism. An example is Guaifenisin. 2. Antitussives: these reduce the coughing. Dextromethorphan is an example.

Decongestants: they shrink the blood vessels of the nasal passages and help to relieve edema (swelling) and the congestion.  An example is Pseudeoephedrine hydrochloride (Sudafed), of which now you have to show your driver’s license to buy it OTC: government approval to insure you’re not using it to make Methamphetamines.

There are also some natural aids that can help in your supportive care and may aid in your recovery.  Vitamin C is recommended by Dr. Balch to fight cold viruses, in amounts ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 mg daily.Although citrus fruits and juices are rich in Vitamin C, you’ll have to find a reliable supplement to provide the amounts listed in the above recommendation.

Eucalyyptus oil can be found in your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart and in your health food stores.  The oil is useful in combating congestion.  Place 5 drops in your bath, or 6 drops per cup of boiling water as a steam inhalant to loosen the congestion.  Read any instructions on the label from the manufacturer.

Tea Tree oil can also be found in the aforementioned sources.  The oil is helpful with sore throats.  Place 3-6 drops in warm water and gargle with it up to 3 times per day, and remember: do not drink it.  Spit it out.  Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label, as different brands have different concentrations.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is (as usual) the all-around wonder herb.  Garlic is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. The herb is available in capsule or tablet form  in the aforementioned establishments, and as a solid or aqueous extract in your health food concerns.  Daily dosage is 4 grams of fresh garlic per day.  A clove can be consumed 1-2 times per day, or up to 8 mg essential oil.

Influenza

Influenza is another virus to worry about during the colder months. It has plagued man throughout the ages and is only now in the “infancy stages” of being understood, especially in function.  The disease (seasonal) is described as being an acute, contagious, respiratory infection with fever, headache, and cough, originating with a virus (influenza A, in 65% of cases, or influenza B, in 35% of cases). Incubation is usually 1-3 days with the illness running its course in about a week. There are more than 400 types of viruses.  Current antiviral medications include amantadine and rimantadine.

Over-the-counter medications are for treatment of symptoms while the body is fighting the infection and recovering.  Such medications are guaifenisin (an expectorant),acetaminophen (fever and pain), and robitussin (cough), among others.  We are all undoubtedly familiar with them.  So how do viruses work?  What are they?  Let us explore some basics to better understand them.

Treating the Influenza Virus

Influenza has plagued man throughout the ages and is only now in the “infancy stages” of being understood, especially in function.  The disease (seasonal) is described as being an acute, contagious, respiratory infection with fever, headache, and cough, originating with a virus (influenza A, in 65% of cases, or influenza B, in 35% of cases). Incubation is usually 1-3 days with the illness running its course in about a week.  Current antiviral medications include amantadine and rimantadine.

Over-the-counter medications are for treatment of symptoms while the body is fighting the infection and recovering.  Such medications are guaifenisin (an expectorant),acetaminophen (fever and pain), and robitussin (cough), among others.  We are all undoubtedly familiar with them.  So how do viruses work?  What are they?  Let us explore some basics to better understand them.

There are more than 400 types of viruses.  A virus is basically a pathogen with a protein coating containing nucleic acids.  They are broken down and classified by several methods pertaining to their physiology:  1.  Genome (RNA or DNA), 2. Host/target (bacteria, plant, or animal), 3. Reproduction mode, 4. Mode of transmission, and 5. Disease/illness effected.

The influenza virus is absorbed by its “victim,” or host (either respiration or ingestion usually), and then it attaches itself to the cell wall of one of the host’s cells.  The virus then injects its viral-DNA into the cell where it synthesizes with cellular DNA and proteins.  Such is its process of reproduction, and its unit is referred to as a phage.  The cell’s own machinery is utilized to reproduce more phages.  The cell becomes “overcrowded” with phages and the cell wall lyses (or ruptures) to release untold numbers of new individual phages to (each) begin the cycle again.

Sometimes the phages form small “buds” that break off and infect another cell.  One of the problems with viruses is that they can have antigens, which are protein markers normally recognizable to our body’s White Blood Cells (WBC’s); the antigens mutate frequently, and this is the problem.  The WBC’s cannot recognize the new, mutated antigen as the problem.  Immunoglobulins are antibodies, and these are confounded by the change/mutation that prevents them from working effectively against the new form of the virus.

Viruses are very small, requiring (in most cases) an electron microscope to be able to detect them.  The field of comparison could be likened in this manner: a bacterial cell can be likened to the size of a bus, and a virus would be likened to a marble on that bus.  Provided please find a list of definitions that will help you that you can refer to in the subsequent article:

Virulence – the relative power and degree of pathogenicity possessed by organisms.

Retroviruses – (Retroviridae); these viruses contain reverse transcriptase, an enzyme essential for reverse transcription, i.e., production of a DNA molecule from an RNA model.

Neuraminidase – an enzyme present on the surface of influenza virus particles; enables the virus to separate from the cell.

Cytokine – One of more than 100 distinct proteins produced by WBC’s.  Provide signals to stimulate specific immune response during inflammation/infection.

Incubation – The interval between exposure to infection and the appearance of the first symptom.

You may be wondering a few things, but mainly, why all this?  You needed a few basics and some notes to help you with your understanding of the mechanics of the virus and how it affects you.  In order to provide clear-cut, factual information without continually explaining terms, these basics have been provided.  “What about naturopathic cures for seasonal influenza?” may be your next question?  You already have heard of standard herbal and natural foods to help with influenza (seasonal), such as Echinacea or Elderberry.  Such foods as these, in the case of the Ebola virus, or even the (almost forgotten) H5N1 (Bird flu virus)…these herbs will be detrimental to you.

In the case of the “standard” seasonal flu, however, Echinacea and Elderberry are just fine. Echinacea refers to the Purple Coneflower, primarily (Echinacea purpurea), and this is available in many different forms (capsule, liquid, and other forms).  Daily dosage is 900 mg of drug for a maximum duration of 8 weeks.

Echinacea refers to the Purple Coneflower, primarily (Echinacea purpurea), and this is available in many different forms (capsule, liquid, and other forms).  Daily dosage is 900 mg of drug for a maximum duration of 8 weeks.

 Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) can shorten the duration and severity of the flu.  The daily dosage is 10 – 15 grams.  With it and with Echinacea, check the label to see the proper dosage, as each can be found in varying strengths and concentrations as per the manufacturer.

Please keep in mind that all of the aforementioned naturopathic aids are supportive in nature and are an adjunct, not a substitute for a doctor’s care.  Consult with your friendly and happy family physician prior to taking any actions regarding any information provided in this article.  Be well.

50 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival

I have always claimed, and not altogether jokingly, that you could build a house with Elmer’s glue and Duct Tape.  Both items are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tote around.  Given my penchant for common, everyday products that can be used dozens of ways, I thought it would be fun to once again look at some of the practical uses of duct tape around the house, camping, and of course, in a survival or emergency situation.

50 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival

duct-tape

I have always claimed, and not altogether jokingly, that you could build a house with Elmer’s glue and Duct Tape.  Both items are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tote around.  Given my penchant for common, everyday products that can be used dozens of ways, I thought it would be fun to once again look at some of the practical uses of duct tape around the house, camping, and of course, in a survival or emergency situation.

All About Duct Tape

Duct tape is a strong, cloth-backed, waterproof adhesive tape often coated with polyethylene.

There are a couple of different lines of thought about the origins of duct tape.

According to one version, the miracle stuff was created during World War II when the US military needed a flexible, durable, waterproof tape to use making repairs in the field. A strong tape was created by Permacell, a division of Johnson and Johnson for this purpose. As the story goes, the GIs called it “duck tape” because it was waterproof – like a duck’s back.

The other version dates back to the same era, but gives the credit to the heating industry.  When people first began using central heating, aluminum ducts were installed throughout homes in order to distribute the heat to different rooms. The joints of the ducts were leaking, so in an effort to conserve heat, duct tape was created to resolve the issue. It had to be highly adhesive, moist enough that it wouldn’t dry out and lose its adhesive properties, and strong enough to withstand the weight of the shifting ducts.

Regardless of the origin, I think we can all agree that duct tape is a fix-all.

As with most excellent products, there are lots of cheap knock-offs. Since your life could one day rely on your

survival supplies, purchase duct tape that is designed for builders. This can be found at the hardware or home improvement store, generally in the heating and air conditioning section.

But enough of the boring details.  Just how can you use this miracle tape?

50 Uses of Duct Tape for Survival and Emergencies

1.  Repair a tent:   You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a duct tape patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.

2.  Make a rope: In a pinch, you can twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope. (Of course paracord would be a lot better and you do have some of that, right?)

3.  Make a clothesline:  Twisting a long piece of Duct tape makes a great piece of rope to use as a clothesline to dry out camp clothing.

4.  Hold the feathers in your sleeping bag: If you have a hole in your down sleeping bag, you can patch the hole with duct tape.  No more feathers flying out all over the place.

5.  Reseal packages of food:  Use duct tape to seal up partially opened packages of food.  Fold over the top of the package and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape. Works for cans, too.  Simply fashion a lid out of duct tape.

6.  Hold your tent closed: A damaged zipper could leave your tent door flapping in the wind. Stick the door shut, and keep the bugs and critters out.

7.  Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole: Tape a stick to the broken area of your tent pole or fishing rod, and you might just get one last adventure out of it.

8.  Catch pesky flies:  Roll off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hang them from a branch or your tent or cabin rafters. The DT serves as flypaper and when you depart, you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash.  No need to use nasty chemicals, either.

9.  Repair your water bottle: Have a cracked water bottle or a pierced hydration bladder? A little strip of duct tape to the rescue. Be sure to dry the surface before you try to tape your patch in place since most forms of duct tape don’t stick to wet surfaces. You can also wrap plastic water bottles with duct tape to prevent cracking and leaking.

10.  Make a spear: Strap your knife to a pole and you have a trusty spear to fend off beasts, or make one into your dinner.

11.  Create a shelter: With some trash bags and some duct tape, and you have a survival shelter roof, or sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.

12.  Wrap a sprained ankle:  If you trip and sprain your ankle, wrap the ankle with duct tape to give it some support.

13.  Make butterfly bandage strips: Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.

14.  Make a sling: Fold a length of DT down the middle, so that it is half the original width and no longer exposing a sticky side. Use the strap to make a sling for an injured arm or shoulder.

15.  Affix bandages: Place a sterile dressing over your wound, and strap it in place with DT.

16.  Blister care:  Got a blister on your foot? Cover the blistered area with a bit of cotton gauze, and tape over the cotton. Make sure that the duct tape fully covers the cotton and doesn’t touch the blister at all.

17.  Create a splint: A broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with ample splint material, padding and duct tape.

18.  Make a crutch: Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to

go with your splint.

19.  Make a bandage: Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape.

20.  Make a temporary roof shingle: If you have lost a wooden roof shingle, make a temporary replacement by wrapping duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) plywood you’ve cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space. It will close the gap and repel water until you can repair the roof.

21.  Fix a hole in your siding:  Has the stormy weather damaged your vinyl siding? A broken tree limb tossed by the storm, hailstones, or even an errant baseball can rip your siding. Patch tears in vinyl siding with duct tape. Choose tape in a color that matches your siding and apply it when the surface is dry. Smooth your repair by hand or with a rolling pin. The patch should last at least a season or two.

22.  Tape a broken window:  Before removing broken window glass, crisscross the broken pane with duct tape to hold it all together. This will ensure a shard does not fall out and cut you.

23.  Mend a screen:  Have the bugs found the tear in your window or door screen? Thwart their entrance until you make a permanent fix by covering the hole with duct tape.

24.  Repair a trash can:  Plastic trash cans that are blown over by a storm or frozen in an ice storm often split or crack along the sides.  Repair the tear with duct tape. Just be sure the can is completely dry and tape over the crack both outside and inside.

25.  Make a belt:  Run a piece of DT through your belt loops and stick it to itself in the front. Overlap it about 4 or 5 inches and you’ll still be able to peel the belt apart when nature calls.

26.  Repair your glasses:  If your glasses break while you are out in the wilderness, tape them up.  You might look a bit nerdy but at least you will be able to see.

27.  Fix your rain gear: Keep the dry stuff dry and keep the water out by mending your ripped rain gear with a few strips of duct tape.

28.  Repair your clothing:  Repair rips and tears in your clothing by slipping a piece of tape inside the rip, sticky side out, and carefully pressing both sides of the rip together. The repair will be barely detectable.

29.  Add extra insulation in your boots:  Make your winter boots a little bit warmer by taping the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.

30.  Repair boots: If your boots have come apart or the sole has come off, perform a quick duct tape repair to help keep moisture and cold air away from your socks.

31.  Keep snow out of your boots: If the snow is so deep it goes over the tops of your boots, you can wrap the tape around them to keep the tops against your legs to keep them shut tight so that you don’t get snow inside your boots.

32.  Keep bugs and parasites out of your boots: Same concept as above, summer version. Secure the tops of your boots against your legs to bar entry to ticks, chiggers, and other creepy crawlies.

33.  Hem your pants:  No time to hem your new jeans?  Fake it with a strip of duct tape. The new hem will last through a few washes too.

34.  Make handcuffs:  Create handcuffs for the bad guys by taping their hands together around a tree to prevent them from becoming a danger to themselves or others.

35.  Mark a trail: Use duct tape to blaze a trail so you can easily find your way back.

36.  Signal for rescue: If you have brightly colored or reflective duct tape, you can use it to signal for rescue.

37.  Make emergency repairs on your Bug Out Vehicle: Repair leaking hoses, broken tail lights, windows that don’t stay and even bullet holes with strips of duct tape.

38.  Hang perimeter or security lights:  String lights around your camp with a rope make of duct tape.

39.  Make a disguise:  Using trash bags and leaves, fashion a disguise then hold it all together with duct tape so that you can hide in plain sight.

40.  Repair above ground swimming pools: Got an above ground pool as part of your water storage, fish farming, or aquaponics set up? Don’t despair if you spring a leak. Simply dry the area completely, then adhere DT on both the inside and outside of the rip or hole.  This little trick can also be used for waterbeds.

41.  Repair gutter downpipes: Wrap the joints in duct tape to secure downpipes that won’t stay together.

42.  Remove splinters: Make sure skin is perfectly dry. Apply duct tape to the area where the splinter is embedded and quickly yank it off.

43.  Repair a small boat: If you have a small fishing boat, kayak, or canoe that gets a hole or crack in it, you can repair it by drying the area thoroughly and applying duct tape on both sides. The repair may not last forever but will probably get you back to civilization.

44.  Repair work gloves: Got some heavy work gloves coming apart at the seams? Repair them by folding duct tape, sticky side in, over the seam and pressing it together.

45.  Brace broken ribs: If you’ve broken or cracked your ribs, but you still need to function, you can provide support with duct tape.  Put on a slim fitting shirt or tank top to protect your skin, then wrap your rib cage tightly with duct tape

46.  Black out your windows: Use duct tape in conjunction with heavy garbage bags to cover windows during an emergency. Nothing says “rob me” like being the only house in the neighborhood with lights on.

47.  Remove warts: Cover a planter wart with a piece of duct tape for 6 days. Replace the tape when the adhesive loosens or gets wet. After 6 days, remove the tape and soak the area with water. Then, gently rub the wart with an emery board. Repeat the procedure until the wart is gone.

48.  Repair leaking pipes: Making sure to dry the area completely, apply duct tape to PVC pipes that are leaking.

49.  Seal your home: In the event of a pandemic or a biological, nuclear, or chemical attack get all family members inside and seal off windows and doors securely with duct tape.

50.  Seal ammo boxes: Protect your ammunition from moisture by sealing the boxes with duct tape.

 

How to Make Your Own Alcohol for Post-SHTF

Alcohol has been made, used, and consumed by people for thousands of years. For examples, cereal grains were used to make beer in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Later on, the Greeks and the Romans began producing wine and used it as a part of their social and religious lives.

How to Make Your Own Alcohol for Post-SHTF

alcohol

Alcohol has been made, used, and consumed by people for thousands of years. For examples, cereal grains were used to make beer in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Later on, the Greeks and the Romans began producing wine and used it as a part of their social and religious lives.

Today, the use of alcohol has largely been reduced to quenching thirst or to be used in religious practices for some people, but it can also be used as an anti-septic, to sterilize equipment, as a morale booster, to make weapons, and most importantly, as a bartering item when it comes to SHTF. These are just a handful of reasons for why alcohol will be in exceptionally high demand during and in the aftermath of a great disaster.

For this reason, brewing your own alcohol at home would be a wise skill to add to your existing list of survival assets. Just like any other skill, home brewing requires you to practice extensively until you get it right, but as the old adage goes, practice makes perfect.

As long as you have the necessary resources and the knowledge, you will be able to make your own alcoholic beverages in a post-SHTF world, but also keep in mind you have to stockpile the tools and the equipment to make them as they might be hard to get post collapse.

Beer

To make beer, you’ll need hops, specialty grains, yeast, and malt extract. But the first thing you need to is to make sure that your work area and all of your materials are clean. Any successful brewer will be sure to inform you that one of the secrets to a successful brewing is that everything used is fully cleaned and sanitized.

Next, steep the grains by placing them into a grain or mesh bag, and then steeping it in a large, roughly three gallon pot of hot water for about thirty minutes. After that, you can then remove it and allow the water to drip from the bag and into the pot.

At this point, you can then add the malt before bringing it all to a boil. After the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, feel free to add in the hops in intervals. The reason we recommend that you add in the hops later in the boil is because adding it too soon can cause the beer to taste bitterer.

Once the liquid mixture has been boiled, you’ll need to allow it to cool very quickly. Rather than just setting the pot out on the counter to cool, we suggest that you place the entire pot with the lid in a sink filled with cold or ice water.

Once the mixture has been reduced to around eighty degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready to be transferred over to a fermenter. When the fermentation process has begun, you will want to keep its exposure to the air to a bare minimum. This is done to preventing any unpleasant flavors or smells developing from out of the mixture.

Use a strainer to scoop out the hops, since all of the good stuff has already been used out of them. Next, add water before then adding in the yeast. Sometimes, the yeast will need to be first stirred with warm water before being added to the mixture, but this is not always necessary.

Proceed to place a lid over the fermenter, and then place the fermenter itself in a darker location where it will be at a constant room temperature. Within a period of twenty four hours, you should notice that the air lock is bubbling.

Within the next week, this bubbling activity will slow down considerably. Within two weeks, it should stop considerably. It is now ready to be bottled.

You can start the bottling process by transferring the beer, using a sanitized siphon, from the fomenter to your clean bottling bucket. Open up the spigot and then place the bottle filler into a bottle. By pressing the filler to the bottom of the bucket, the beer will soon flow.

As long as you have the right resources like we have explored and get enough practice in, you can easily become a decent beer brewer in your own right.

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Wine

A prepper who is learning to brew should learn how to make beer first, but wine should be second. In addition to the actual wine ingredients that you’ll need, you will also have to acquire a glass jar with a volume of at least two gallons, another glass container that’s have the size of your first, a thin plastic siphon, sanitized water bottles, and an airlock.

An advantage to making wine is that it can be made with nearly any kind of fruit, with the two most common choices being berries and grapes. Just be sure to pick the ones that are in their prime and at their best flavor, and if possible, pick fruits that have not been touched by chemicals.

Rinse any fruit you collect very thoroughly. Many novice wine makers make the mistake of peeling it while in the rinsing stage, but this only removes much of the flavor from the eventual wine and is therefore not recommended if a stronger wine is what you desire.

You can use your hands to crush the fruit, but if you have something like a potato masher on hand that would work even better. The juices will be released as you squeeze them. Continue adding juices until it is within two inches of the crock’s top. If you don’t have enough juice to accomplish this, you can always use clean water to accomplish this tax.

Next, add some honey. Honey is critical in making wine as it is what gives it its sweetened flavor. The more honey you add, the sweeter your wine will taste. But even if you don’t prefer a sweeter wine, you should still add two cups at the minimum.

Now, you can add the yeast. Simply pour it into the mix and then stir it using a spoon. Like the honey, adding yeast to your wine is a must.

Next, place a lid or a cover over the crock and then store it for the night. This covering should keep any bugs or pests out, but also need to allow some air to flow in and out. There are crock lids that are designed specifically for this purpose, you can take a t-shirt and secure it over the opening with a rubber band. The crock will need to be stored at room temperature.

Dedicate a few minutes of your time over the next four days to stirring the mixture thoroughly. Most wine makers recommend that you stir the mixture at least once every four to five hours during the day. As the yeast begins to take action, the mixture will bubble, signaling that the fermentation process has begun.

The bubbling will slow down roughly three days after it started. At this point, you’ll need to siphon out the liquid to a carboy so it can be stored for the long term. Once all of the mixture has been siphoned, attach the airlock to the opening of the carboy so that gas can be released while stopping any oxygen from entering and ruining the wine.

From this point, you can sit back for at least a month and allow your wine to age. The more months you leave the wine alone, the better taste it will have. But considering that you’re making wine during or immediately after a long term SHTF situation, one month will suffice.

Once you’re satisfied with the wine’s taste, you can then proceed to bottle it. Make sure that your siphon tube has been sanitized before bottling the wine in order to prevent any bacteria from getting into it. After filling up the bottles, cork them immediately. You can then either allow them to sit and age further, or you can enjoy them immediately.

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Whiskey

Whiskey is produced from fermented grain mash. There are many different combinations of grains, which explain why there are many different kinds of whiskey. Most of the time, the grain mash will be made out of wheat, rye, barley, and corn (as with Bourbon whiskey).

Making your own whiskey will consist of five basic steps. The first step is to make the whiskey mash. Mashing is simply using the steeping process from hot water to activate enzymes, which essentially converts the starches from the grains into the fermented sugars. The resulting solution will be very rich in sugars and is referred to as wort. Later on, the yeast will be what converts that wort into alcohol.

At this point, you will have to decide what kind of whiskey you want to make. You can choose any whiskey recipe that you know of, but for this article, we’ll assume that you’ll go with the Bourbon recipe that we told you of above.

The next step is the fermentation process. This is the process where the sugars are converted into Co2 and ethanol. Once you have selected your recipe, made the wort, and then added the yeast to the wort, it will begin to ferment. The fermentation process takes anywhere from a couple of days to over a week. The temperature and the nutrients in the yeast are the two biggest factors in determining how long it will take. You will know that the fermentation process is complete when there are no longer any bubbles forming.

The next step is the distillation process. The primary goal of the distillation process is to separate the wort and the ethanol. Granted, it’s going to be impossible to separate them exactly. But you should still be able to get a solution that is four fifths ethanol and one fifth water and mash flavors.

The whiskey will be distilled in a pot still. To distill, transfer the wort to a still using a sanitary siphon. Heat the mixture very slowly, but without burning it. You should grant yourself at least forty five minutes before the wash will come to a boil.

Next, start the condenser until it reaches a temperature of one hundred and thirty degrees Fahrenheit. A consistent drip should then begin to form at the condenser’s end. Collect this mixture, which the temperature reading around one hundred and eighty degrees on the thermometer. Allow the temperature to climb forward to two hundred degrees, distilling out the fusel oil and adding flavors to the final product, before turning it off and removing the mixture from the source of heat.

Allow everything to cool before continuing on with the next step of maturation. Whiskey will always taste best after it has aged, and it always ages the best either when placed in oak barrels or when having oak chips added to the mixture. Once you have bottled your whiskey, it will no longer mature.

The fifth and final step is to dilute and bottle the whiskey, again by using a sanitized siphon. To truly enjoy whiskey, you’ll want to cut the mixture with water.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that while brewing your own alcohol at home is an important skill, it is also something that can be fun and should therefore not be dreaded; despite how complicated of a process it may sound. You may make a few mistakes on your first few tries, but that is to be expected and you’ll learn more with each new brewing.

Many people use alcohol brewing as a chance to bring family and friends together, where you can demonstrate to them how to make homemade beer and wine, and pass on their skills.

How To Recognize And Treat Food Poisoning

Food poisoning in an everyday situation is bad enough but at least you have access to hospitals if you need medical treatment. In a post SHTF situation, it can be deadly.

Recognizing the symptoms can be crucial too, because a case of food poisoning may present similarly to other, contagious diseases such as the flu or malaria that would cause you to isolate the person or forbid them entry into your home, compound, etc.

How To Recognize And Treat Food Poisoning

poison-food

Food poisoning in an everyday situation is bad enough but at least you have access to hospitals if you need medical treatment. In a post SHTF situation, it can be deadly.

Recognizing the symptoms can be crucial too, because a case of food poisoning may present similarly to other, contagious diseases such as the flu or malaria that would cause you to isolate the person or forbid them entry into your home, compound, etc.

The first thing that you should probably know is the different types of food poisoning, because if you know the types, you know how to avoid contracting (or causing) food poisoning. Here we go.

Norovirus

Norovirus is the most common cause of food poisoning; as a matter of fact, it accounts for over half the cases reported annually. Typically, Norovirus is contacted due to poor hygiene and improper food handling. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, chills, headache, low-grade fever, muscle aches and fatigue.

It’s rare for Norovirus to be severe enough to cause death, but it could happen. Also, care must be taken with hygiene because the Norovirus because it IS contagious through contact with bodily fluids.

The only real treatment for it is maintaining hydration while waiting it out. Symptoms should subside within a couple of days or sooner.

To avoid contracting it (or spreading it) wash your hands and all cooking areas and prep tools thoroughly. If somebody has it, clean everything that they come into contact with thoroughly or discard it in a hygienic manner. Somebody who’s had Norovirus shouldn’t prepare food for others for at least 2-3 days after symptoms go away.

Norovirus survives extremes in temperature so you have to kill it chemically. Bleach is a good bet. Wash your fruits and veggies thoroughly and cook all shellfish before you eat them. Don’t eat or drink after people and avoid handshaking. If you do, don’t touch your face before you wash your hands.

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Botulism

The next on our list of fabulous things not to get is botulism. Caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, this type of food poisoning is rare but extremely serious. The botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous biological substances known to man.

It’s a neurotoxin that causes central nervous system impairment. Botulism is most frequently contracted from improperly prepared or damaged canned goods, whether they’re home-canned or store-bought.

Symptoms include drooping eyelids, facial paralysis on one or both sides, muscle weakness, dry mouth, blurry vision, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing or speaking, nausea, vomiting and paralysis.

In babies, you may see constipation, flopping around, a weak cry, drooling drooping eyelids, paralysis or difficulty sucking.

Treating botulism in a SHTF situation is going to suck because the only treatments are to induce vomiting and bowel movements in order to get the toxin out of the body as quickly as possible. Antibiotics aren’t recommended for foodborne botulism because it actually speeds up the release of the toxin. There is an anti-toxin, but that’s only available at the hospital.

The best way to deal with botulism is to avoid it. Don’t eat canned goods, especially low-acid produce, meats and fish that you even suspect may be bad, or that are stored in a jar or can that’s been damaged or isn’t sealed properly.

E Coli

This is another bad boy in the food poisoning category. Avoid it at all costs because it sucks. It’s caused by exposure to contaminated products including meat (usually hamburger), unpasteurized milk or juice, soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, or alfalfa sprouts. It can also be contracted via contaminated water or by coming into contact with contaminated animals.

There are a couple of reasons that e Coli is bad. First, even if you have the lesser strain, symptoms can last 5-10 days. Symptoms include severe diarrhea that is frequently bloody, vomiting and severe abdominal pain. The other, more critical reason, to avoid e Coli is the risk of HUS, or hemolytic uremic syndrome which is an infection that releases a toxin that can damage red blood cells, thus causing kidney injury. This is rare, though and will manifest after the first week if it’s going to. Symptoms will include facial pallor, decreased urination and dark, tea-colored urine. There’s really nothing you can do to treat HUS at home.

Treat e Coli by remaining hydrated and resting. Do not take antibiotics for e Coli.

E Coli can be spread from person to person by contact with contaminated feces so, again, hygiene is imperative.

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Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacteria that affects the intestinal tract and is found in the intestinal tract of poultry and seafood. It’s caused by eating undercooked contaminated meat, seafood or eggs. The food is contaminated by coming into contact with the feces of the infected animal. Fruits and vegetables treated with fertilizer made from the feces of infected animals can carry the bacteria, too.

Contamination can also occur if you don’t keep your work surfaces and utensils/tools clean. If you cut bread with a knife that you cut contaminated chicken with, your bread is now contaminated. Wash your counters, cutting boards and tools with an antibacterial such as a product with bleach.

This can be spread by people infected with salmonella by coming into contact with their feces.

The good thing about salmonella is that it’s easy to kill by cooking the product thoroughly. Wash all of your produce well before eating it and don’t think that just because an egg is clean with no apparent breaks in the shell that it’s safe; some chickens can spread salmonella to the egg before the shell forms. To sum it up, cook poultry, eggs and seafood well and wash your produce.

Symptoms of salmonella will show up anywhere from several hours to two days after contact. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headache, chills and bloody stool. Symptoms typically last four to seven days but it can take several months for your bowels to get back to normal.

Treatment includes maintaining hydration, taking anti-diarrheals and antibiotics. Antibiotics are typically only used when the bacteria has spread to your bloodstream, which isn’t typical.

As you can see, the common thread here is hygiene and proper cooking methods. The best way to avoid food poisoning is to wash your hands, make sure that all of your food is properly prepared and fully cooked, and take precautionary measures when treating a person with food poisoning as all types are contagious if you come into contact with certain bodily fluids; typically feces. In a post-SHTF situation, some of these illnesses can be lethal so the best cure is prevention.

Paracord 101: The Basics

Paracord is one of those survival supplies that is in everyone’s bug out bag. But why? What makes it so much superior to any other type of cordage? Why is it so useful? What can you do with it?

paracord-basics

Paracord is one of those survival supplies that is in everyone’s bug out bag. But why? What makes it so much superior to any other type of cordage? Why is it so useful? What can you do with it?

What is Paracord?

To answer why paracord is better than standard rope, we need to take a look at what’s inside.

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Paracord, also know as parachute cord, is more than just one piece. It’s made up of 7 2-ply strands inside a braided nylon sheath. The strands (“guts”) allow paracord to handle much more than typical rope of its size.

These smaller lines can be separated and used for smaller tasks like fishing line, snares, and sewing while the sheath can still be used for larger tasks like hanging a bear bag.

Just this feature alone lets you turn one bit of cordage into eight, multiplying its usefulness without having to carry more equipment.

While you should not trust standard 550 cord to support your weight, paracord more than earns its space in your bag.

How Can I Use Paracord?

“That’s all great and good, Dr. Science, but how can I use it?”

I’m so glad you asked. Here are just a few common uses for paracord:

  • Tie down tarp for shelter.
  • Make a net for fishing.
  • Hang your clothes to dry.
  • Tie your friend to a tree.
  • Make an improvised splint.
  • Make a spear.
  • Hang things from trees (lanterns, showers, pinatas).

There are a million and one uses for paracord. Or at least 101:

Prepper Projects

“Gee, paracord sounds pretty useful but how do I make sure that I have it when I need it?”

There are many ways to make sure you have paracord handy at all times. Here are a few:

Common

Here are some examples of using everyday items to keep cordage close at hand.

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  • Bracelet – Most popular. Many come with survival kits woven inside. There are plenty of places to buy paracord bracelets but it’s pretty easy to make your own.
  • Belt – Probably the second most popular option. Depending on how much you like Oreos, you can fit a pretty sizable amount of cordage onto a belt. Like the bracelet, you can hide survival gear inside.

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  • Knife handle – Great way to add functionality and comfort. The wrap gives you a bit more grip and padding. Works especially well for minimalist or skeleton knives.
  • Necklace – With all of the different knots you can use, there plenty of options to suit your style.
  • Key chain – You could just have something simple like this or a…
    • Survival Kit (grenade) – Keep a whole kit right there on your key chain.
    • Monkey fist – Fairly innocuous but can be useful in a fight.

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    • Kubotan – Japanese self defense weapon. Basically a metal stick you jab into your attacker’s pressure points.
  • Survival knife kit
  • Zipper pulls – For pullin’ them zips up and down.

Uncommon

You may not have thought of these:

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  • Dog Collar/leash – I love this one because it’s turning something that you always use into something more useful.
  • Watch band – Not a fan of these but I’m a watch snob.
  • Boot laces – Swap out those basic laces and switch to something that you can use!
  • Rifle sling – If you’re going to have a sling anyway, it might as well be made out of paracord.
  • Lanyard – If you have to wear an ID to work or school everyday, why not carry it on paracord?

Weird

Basically, at this point, you accidentally bought 6 miles of paracord on a drunken Amazon shopping spree and you’re looking for any excuse to use the stuff.

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  • Flip flops – …sure.
  • Gear wrap – You’ll see a lot of paracord projects for making holders for your gear. Even gear that didn’t need a holder. Here are a couple of them:
    • Water bottle – I can see this being somewhat useful.
    • Multitool pouch – They come with sheaths. That are less bulky, more ergonomic…
    • Lighter – For when your lighter gets cold.
    • Flashlight – To hang it, maybe?
  • Bandolier – Ah yes, to replace my regular bandolier.
  • Wallet – If you get to the point where you need everything to be functional, including your wallet, just make a duct tape wallet.
  • Koozie – Because the world needs more koozies.
  • Steering wheel –

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  • Bookmark – You never know when you’ll be reading the latest Danielle Steele novel and need to tie something up.
  • iPhone cable wrap – I guess it keeps the cable from getting kinked.
  • Donut – No, not wrapping an actual donut. This one is actually useful because it keeps your paracord neat and manageable. Check out the video:

The Infrastructure Of America Is Collapsing

America’s infrastructure is collapsing. Categorically both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure elements are decaying physically and fundamentally while the clock ticks ever closer to any number of major tipping points.

These will have a direct and considerable impact on the vulnerability of our supply chains, especially those which are ‘key’ to our way of life, and our modern survival.

The Infrastructure Of America Is Collapsing

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America’s infrastructure is collapsing. Categorically both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure elements are decaying physically and fundamentally while the clock ticks ever closer to any number of major tipping points.

These will have a direct and considerable impact on the vulnerability of our supply chains, especially those which are ‘key’ to our way of life, and our modern survival.
Infrastructure refers to both ‘hard’ and soft’ integral systems and facilities serving a country, city, or area.

‘Hard’ infrastructure refers to the large physical networks necessary for the functioning of a nation, whereas “soft” infrastructure refers to the underpinning institutions themselves.

Hard infrastructure are things like physical components of interrelated systems. They provide commodities and services that enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions — including technical structures such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications networks, fuel and energy supply infrastructures, trucks, rail, airlines, and so on…

Soft infrastructure include institutions and foundations that underpin and enable a nation — such as the financial system and economy, the education system, medical and health care systems, the family, the system of government, values and religion, law enforcement, emergency services, etc..
If we examine the elements of our infrastructure, it seems (and is often quite clear) that many are truly decaying and even collapsing before our eyes. Figuratively and literally there has been corrosion, degeneration, deterioration, disintegration, and rot of both hard and soft infrastructure throughout much of the nation.

Geographically, there are differences and variations as to the overall ‘score’ of collapsing infrastructure, and while nationally many are affected by one or more overall descending trends, systemic risks and vulnerabilities, there are pockets whereby it may appear that there are no issues at all…

A complicated and intertwined set of ‘reasons’ have brought us to this point of decay, and some believe that it’s largely to do with the inevitable cycle of events that occur during the timeline of a ‘rise and fall’ of a ‘people’ — that is, we are somewhere in the stage whereby we have raided the treasury so as to ‘live for today’ with little regard for tomorrow – while having largely ignored the fundamental underpinnings necessary to solidly hold us up.
Given the state of decay (collapse) of hard (physical) and soft (societal) infrastructure, we are especially vulnerable to the unfolding of major chaotic events.

In today’s ‘ridiculously’ high-tech era in which so many critical infrastructure systems face additional systemic vulnerability, any one of a number of catastrophic events (be it a ‘black swan’ or otherwise), a nightmare scenario could result as millions of Americans become dangerously (and even mortally) affected by disruptions including the nation’s food supply chain, regional shortages of of critical supplies which might persist well beyond one’s abilities to cope (or survive), or worse…

A vast majority are totally unprepared for critical infrastructure disruption. Whether it ‘breaks’ by way of having reached a tipping point of decay, by way of malicious intent, or by way of a natural Geo-physical catastrophe, those who have been blinded by normalcy bias will potentially be in grave and mortal danger as their eyes are forced open to see the stark reality of our ‘just in time’ systems and total dependence upon them and others…

…and it will be too late.

The thoughts written above are not specific regarding the individual elements of infrastructure and their present state of collapse (or reasons thereof), but they are presented as a general overview, and to get you thinking of the many categorical systemic risks which expose us to the potentially critical dangers – as we live our so called ‘modern lives’.

What are your thoughts? What infrastructure elements do you see collapsing?

Winter Checklist for the Home

It seems like the summers are getting shorter and the winters longer, but then again, we say this every year, and it may just seem that way as we get older. Nonetheless, winter is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Some things can wait, while others cannot.

winter-checklist-home

It seems like the summers are getting shorter and the winters longer, but then again, we say this every year, and it may just seem that way as we get older. Nonetheless, winter is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Some things can wait, while others cannot.

1.) Garden hoses can be damaged if left exposed to the cold, so start thinking about storage places. In addition, if you have freeze proof spigots, hoses have to be uncoupled to allow the water to properly drain from the spigot to prevent freezing and bursting the line.

2.) Cover outdoor spigots with insulated covers  as an added measure to prevent freezing.

3.) Lawn sprinkler/irrigation systems must be drained to prevent damage to the system.

4.) Crawl space vents will have to be closed or covered  to keep cold air out of the crawl space. In warm weather, of course, the vents are opened to reduce moisture buildup which can lead to mold and mildew problems, not to mention moisture attracts insects in particular certain termites.

5.) Have your heating system checked before you need it. Heating and air conditioning service companies experience high demand for services during the first cold snap of the season, so get ahead of the rush.

6.) Make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Stopped up drain spouts will allow water to build up and if it freezes it can damage the roof line, soffits, and the guttering system itself.

7.) Prune back any branches that overhang the roof line. Snow and ice can weigh down even healthy limbs that right now do not seem to be a hazard, but once under strain from the weight of snow and ice could snap and damage the roof or walls of the home.

8.) Stock up on ice melt now, because as you know, the minute the first snow or ice is predicted people rush to the stores and clean out the supply. Retail stores never seem to have their act together when it comes to inventorying certain items, because if they order too much then they have to inventory a product that has only one use for a short period.

9.) Service your generators and stabilize the fuel . Make sure they work properly and that you have fresh fuel going into the colder months. Inspect your electrical cords for serviceability and if you had purchased appliances over the summer months, make sure you have electrical cords rated for the appliance and ensure your generator can handle the additional load.

10.) Check your water pipes insulation, and if you use heat tape make sure it is working by testing it before it gets cold.

11.) Inspect your hot water tank blanket, and if you do not have one it is recommended you do get one if your tank is located in a non-heated part of the home such as in the garage, basement, or crawlspace.

This may also be a good time to drain your tank to clear out the sediment. Too much build up in the bottom of the tank can have an effect on the efficiency, and may even cause damage, and in some cases the sediment may build up to the point you cannot drain the tank, because of a clogged spigot. In addition, if you need to use your hot water tank as an emergency water supply, you want it as sediment free as possible and of course you want the drain to work.

12.) If you have a wood burning fireplace or wood stove have your chimney cleaned and inspected for damage before your first fire. Creosote buildup as you know is dangerous and over time it will build up even if you only burned well seasoned wood. Seasoned wood will still have up to 20 percent moisture content which will cause a buildup.

Cattails – A Survival Dinner

Cattails: Swamp Supermarket

The United States almost won WWII with cattails.

No green plant produces more edible starch per acre than the Cat O’ Nine Tails; not potatoes, rice, taros or yams. Plans were underway to feed American soldiers with that starch when WWII stopped. Lichen, not a green plant, might produce more carbs per acre. One acre of cattails can produce 6,475 pounds of flour per year on average (Harrington 1972).

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Cattails: Swamp Supermarket

The United States almost won WWII with cattails.

No green plant produces more edible starch per acre than the Cat O’ Nine Tails; not potatoes, rice, taros or yams. Plans were underway to feed American soldiers with that starch when WWII stopped. Lichen, not a green plant, might produce more carbs per acre. One acre of cattails can produce 6,475 pounds of flour per year on average (Harrington 1972).

Cattail pollen

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Two species of cattails are common in North America today. One is Typha latifolia (TYE-fuh   lat-ih-FOH-lee-uh)  the otherTypha angustifolia (an-gus-tee-FOH-lee-uh.)Typha is from Greek and means “marsh” — now you how “typhoid” got its name and Typhoid Mary.Latifolia mean wide leaf,angustifolia means skinny leaf.  Besides that difference, the T. latifolialikes shallower water, theT. angustifolia deeper water, but it is not unusual to find them living side by side and also crossbreeding —L’angustifolia perhaps. Cattails get their name from their mature brown cylindrical flower spikes. When I was a kid we used to used the dried spikes as torches while skating in the winter time. The end of season fluffy “tails” make excellent tinder and the Indians used them insulation, mattresses and absorption.

There is so much to know about cattails that a book could be written just about them. First, no other plants in their mature stage look like the cattail, so it is difficult to misidentify. Younger plants can be misidentified with three toxic ones so always look for last year’s classic growth to confirm you have found cattails. Cattail are oval at the base, not flatish. They are also very mild tasting and without much aroma meaning if what you think you’ve got is a cattail and it is strongly flavored and or aromatic — not counting the smell of mud — you’ve got the wrong plant.

Flower spikes when green

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It is said that if a lost person has found cattails, they have four of the five things they need to survive: Water, food, shelter and a source of fuel for heat—the dry old stalks. The one item missing is companionship.  Of course, the other thing to point out is that no matter where the water flows, down stream is civilization in North, Central and South America. Remember that when you are lost in the Americas. This does not hold true in Africa or Siberia. Many rivers in Africa are largest near their source then dry up as the water is used or evaporates. In Siberia rivers flow north towards the uninhabited arctic.

One Boy Scout motto is “You name it and we’ll make it from cattails!” Cattails are the supermarket of the wilds. The young cob-like tips of the plant are edible as is the white bottom of the stalk, spurs off the main roots and spaghetti like rootlets off the main roots. They have vitamins A, B,

Cattail lower stalks

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and C, potassium and phosphorus. The pollen can be used like flour.  I like their convenience as a trail nibble, or canoe nibble as it were. Just pull on one and where it pulls from the stalk there’s usually a tasty bite or two. I think the best part, though, are the new shoots off the main root. They’re start out looking like an alligator’s tooth then a pointed hook three or four inches long. The roots themselves need some processing and I’ll get to them in a moment.

The “Listronotus” grub grows larger

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Cattails have a surprising function and history. The spread of cattails in a body of water is an important part of the process of open water being converted to marsh then dry land. They are native to both North America and Europe. In Europe cattails are called bulrushes or greater reed mace. They’re first mentioned — meaning mentioned in writing — in the United States in the 1830s and at that time were only found along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico excluding Texas. They weren’t even reported in places like Wisconsin until after World War I. They weren’t a significant plant in the Dakotas until the 1960s. The native cattail, Typha gracilis, seems to have all but disappeared, hybridizing with the European version to form the two species mentioned here. Eastern Indians used cattails extensively, not only for food, but for hemp and stuffing. In fact, one Indian word for cattails means “fruit for papoose’s bed.” The fluff was used in diapers and for menstruation.

Like most aquatic plants in the area the cattail is also home to a beetle grub that fish like. On a green cattail look for aon outer leaf that is go brown at the bottom of the leaf and main stalk. You will find a grub, actually the larval form of an Arrowhead Beetle, of the Listronotus genus. The size will vary but they do grow big enough for a small hook and fish love them. As a weevil the grub is also probably edible by humans but I haven’t got around to trying one. You can find the same grub in the tops of bulrushes and wapato.

As mentioned earlier, cattails are the champion of starch production. The way you get the starch is to clean the exterior of the roots and then crush them in clean water and let them sit. The starch settles to the bottom then one pours off the water.  It may take several drain and settle sessions get rid of the fiber. I sampled the starch raw once and got a bit of a stomach ache.  Once you have just the starch it is excellent for cooking as you would any flour. Getting starch that way is quite labor intensive. Here are three other ways to get to the root starch:

 

Clean cattail roots

Dry the peeled roots (peel roots while they are wet–they are difficult to peel when dry). Chop roots into small pieces, and then pound them wtih a little water. When the long fibers are removed, the resultant goup powder can be dried and used as flour.   The roots also can be boiled like potatoes then the starch chewed out (spitting away the fibers) or you can also roast the root in a fire until the outer spongy core is completely black. Then chew the starch off of the fiber.  Don’t eat the fiber. It will give you a stomach ache. I know from personal experience. The advantage of the latter method is no pots or pans are needed. If you have fire and a pond you have a nutritious meal.  You can also put the roots on the barbecue.

Lastly, cattails, Typha latifolia, is suspeced in the fatal poisoning of several horses in Indiana, one case over 80 years ago. Symptoms included stiffness, disinclination to move, profuse perspiration, and muscular trembling.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Cattails grow to 9 feet; leaves are strap-like, stiff, spongy inside, rounded on back, sheathed together at base to appear “flattened” but oval; the cigar-looking “blossom” is very densely packed with tiny flowers, male flowers in top cluster, female flowers in bottom cluster. Roots grow horizontally. If there is a gap between the male and female parts of the plant it is T. angustifolia, or the narrow leaf cattail. If the male and female parts of the plant meet, it is T. latifolia, the common cattail.

TIME OF YEAR: Spikes, pollen and flowers in the spring, bottoms of stalks and root year best in fall and spring.

ENVIRONMENT: Grows where it is wet, rivers, ponds, ditches, lakes, close to shore or farther out.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Numerous, boiled immature and mature flowers, pollen in bread, stalks as a trail nibble, root starch for sustenance, root stems shoots as vegetables.   The roots can be boiled and the starch stripped or sucked off the fibers. They can be dried, the starch grated off the fibers and the starch used as flour. You can crush the roots in water, let the starch settle, pour off the water, then use the starch. Or you can but the roots on embers and roast until black, then peel the black layer off and chew or such the starch off the fibers. Also the core of the roots can be roasted until dry and used as a coffee substitute.

Scalloped Cattails

Take two cups of chpooed cattail tops and put them into a bowl with two beaten eggs, one-half cup melted butter, one-half teaspoon each sugar and nutmeg and black pepper. Blend well and add slowly one cup of scalded milk to the cattail mixture and blended. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole and top with grated Swiss cheese —optional — and add a dab of butter. Bake 275 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cattail Pollen Biscuits

The green bloom spikes turn a bright yellow as they become covered with pollen. Put a large plastic bag over the head (or tail) and shake. The pollen is very fine, resembling a curry-colored talc powder. Pancakes, muffins and cookies are excellent by substituting pollen for the wheat flour in any recipe. Cattail Pollen Biscuits: Mix a quarter cup of cattail pollen, one and three-quarters cup of flour, three teaspoons baking powder, one teaspoon salt, four tablespoons shortening, and three quarters a cup of milk. Bake, after cutting out biscuits, in 425-degree oven for 20 minutes. For an even more golden tone, you may add an additional quarter cup of pollen.

Cattail Pollen Pancakes

Mix one-half cup pollen, one-half cup flour, two tablespoons baking powder, one teaspoon salt, one egg, one cup of milk, three tablespoon bacon drippings. Pour into a hot skillet or griddle in dollar, four-inch pancake amounts.

Cattail Casserole

Two cups scrapped spikes, one cup bread crumbs, one egg, beaten, one-half cup milk, salt and pepper, one onion diced, one-half cup shredded cheddar cheese. Combine all ingredients in a casseroles dish and place in an oven set to 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve when hot.