Remember when you and your best friend opened your first lemonade stand, or mowed the neighbor’s yard? Your first business venture and you both readily agreed to split the profits 50-50. Expenses weren’t part of the equation because Mom made the lemonade and you used Dad’s mower and gas.
Then you and your dad struck a deal on buying your first car, $150 Dodge … $75 each … 50-50. You didn’t realize you got screwed into paying for the insurance which was $160. More than the car was worth!
The question is … What happened to 50-50? The good old right down the middle, nobody wins … nobody loses. Fair to everybody. Those days seemed to have disappeared along with Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century. Webster’s dictionary is constantly adding new words, such as air-ball, binge-watch, conlang, new words that reflect our changing society and culture. Ask a 16th century Puritan what a conlang is and you’ll end up burning at the stake. Change is inevitable and I’ll go way out on a limb and say for the most part good. But… when we change we run the risk of leaving behind good things.
If Webster adds words to reflect our changing society, it should also seriously consider deleting words which no longer apply. A word like Sanity.
The recent Las Vegas massacre is a prime example of the absence of sanity. I could pound the issue home by listing other shooting incidents, but the victims and their families have suffered enough without a constant reminder. But all were void of one word … sanity.
The confusion and pure terror the victims and survivors experienced is inconceivable! A soldier in combat experiences terror, but they know who is trying to kill them and why, and God willing they’ll use their weapon to eradicate the threat. These people had no clue who, what or where. Just people falling disgustingly deformed by the impact of a bullet, blood spewing and pooling on the ground. No. No sanity there.
So when am I going to begin my tirade on the insanity of the shooter and the fact he’s probably Muslim? Better yet, hell let’s start a gun control debate. Those are always fun. You get pruned looking, gut protruding politicians carrying a replica toy musket, it’s not an authentic weapon because it’d be too heavy for the old fart to carry and lift over his head, strutting across a stage saying that without him your guns are gone. See. I’m already getting worked up. This is great!
No. Today I’d like to strike a somber & serious note. Let’s really attempt to leave the emotion out of it and have a quiet logical discussion. And I’ll begin by saying I don’t agree with you, but that’s okay, I’ll seriously listen.
I can not figure out how to discuss the state of our society without eluding to politics, because unfortunately it is the bell weather of our state of mind. However, notice I said Politics, not Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. We’re not talking party … we’re talking sanity.
There’s an old saying, (seems I know a lot of old sayings, hmm) “that the pendulum swings both ways,” referring to the pendulum of a grandfather clock swinging far left … then far right .. and back again. This metaphor illustrates our country’s swing from far liberal to far conservative. I’ll get the fight started right now by saying both are void of sanity.
My question is … What happened to the middle? The 50-50 lemonade stand split. Why does everything have to be 100% for me and nothing for you?
The current lack of sanity did not end with the Las Vegas shootings. It continued straight through the night and continues today. Fox news blaming CNN for the massacre. Does anyone in their right mind really give that accusation any serious thought. If you do…please seek professional help. Ratings mean more than sanity. Insanity sells better than sanity.
Please ponder a few of these questions. If you link the question to a specific incident(s) good for you, but keep the emotions in check.
Why would we run the risk of destroying an already fragile legal system by making a huge political issue out of removing the 10 Commandments from a court room? I truly believe these are God’s laws, but these laws are to be carried in a man’s heart and mind. They are not intended to be displayed like a golden calf and worshiped. Are they?
Why would a business and a union abandon a long term, excellent employee, firing him for saying “nigar rig” … yet say nothing about the black calling the white employee “Cracker.” Briefly, a white railroad conductor was asked by a black railroad engineer to see if he could fix the engine’s radio, which was the engineer’s job incidentally. The conductor replied “I’m sure I can nigar rig something for you.” The black employee took offense and the white employee, a ten year veteran with two children was promptly fired. Is this how we sow racial accord? The white guy meant no disrespect, fellow black employees chastised the black engineer, but the firing stood and the union refused to try and do anything about it. Now try and convince that guy that Black Lives Matter.
A political leader, I use the term loosely, when discussing the Las Vegas incident said there was no need to discuss gun control, that possibly the mental health industry is responsible for all the nuts running around loose. Well, he may have a good point. However, if I could, I’d ask him why he championed closing mental health institutions and throwing medically classified “Troubled Persons” out into the streets onto the unsuspecting public… claiming financial responsibility. See we don’t all have short memories.
What I’m pleading for here is a return to a little bit of sanity. I know it took awhile to go crazy .. so it’ll take awhile to regain our sanity. But we must begin to change back and now. Let’s be civil to one another. Let’s try to use logic over emotion. Let’s do what we know is right instead of what’s popular or less provocative.
I’m white and I don’t fear shaking the hand of a black man … it’s not gonna rub off on me. Same for a gay man … I’m not going to suddenly have the urge to jump into bed with him. A Latino … not gonna become a gang member.
Come on people. Maybe we need to introduce Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, Lucy and Andy Griffin reruns into our schools. Teach our kids that we can disagree, yet compromise and agree on something that benefits the majority instead of the 1%. Replace the love of money with the love of fellow man. Jesus said “The poor will always be among us.” and I don’t question His words. But He didn’t say the poor could number only one or two.
“God grant me sanity.”
Today I hit my wall. I have writers block. I’ve sat here looking at the blank screen, going to the kitchen for more coffee, going to the bathroom to get rid of coffee, and yet the screen was still white and blank when I sat back down. It’s not like I was embarking on a novel, a great piece of literature impersonating Hemingway, or a black horror mocking Stephen King. No … just a simple survival blog.
That’s when it struck me …. There’s nothing simple about surviving. We, and I mean Me, I, Myself, have become so reliant on modern conveniences I have severe doubts of my ability to survive without electricity much alone in the wilderness. I’m an avid deer hunter, in Missouri opening day is nearly a National holiday. I spend an entire week deep in the woods “roughing it” and hunting prey just like my ancestors. Then I really stopped and thought about it.
Yes, I’m in the woods, but in those woods sets a 34 foot camper with a slide out. Electricity is readily available operating the lights, microwave, radio, satellite TV, while the furnace runs on gas for heat, as does the stove and oven for cooking and baking. Water, hot and cold is supplied from a tank under the camper and is of seemingly endless supply.
Hear the old joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” I don’t unless I get the urge while out hunting. Which is very aggravating because I must secure my 45/70 weapon, careful not to bang the scope against the tree, they didn’t have that problem with muskets. Then I must peel off my $400 super insulated camouflage coveralls, I never take them off because my $250 boots are a problem to put back on with the insulated socks. If I have a disappointing day of hunting I jump on my Honda ATV and ride back to camp, and some of those logging roads are really rough and bumpy.
I’m ashamed to say, but that’s when I really realized my mountain man persona was fake. It was not done on purpose, no fraud intended, just honest role playing I guess. However, I was not alone. Like I said deer hunting in big in Missouri and the highways are lined with campers and motor-homes, $2000 to $150,000, rushing to the woods to rough it.
To these honest, hardworking people, male and female, my wife loves deer hunting, I dedicate this blog post. I’m going to strive to inform, people like myself, how to actually survive a catastrophe, man made or the wrath of mother nature.
The first step to understanding basic survival skills is to recognize what is considered the greatest threats to your continued survival. Although dangers in the jungle differ from those in the desert, they all fall within categories of threats.
And in that specific order are your worse enemies, and pose the greatest threats to you and your family. Therefore, you must know these 4 responses in dealing with said dangers in order to survive.
Drive these chilling facts deep into your memory if you think you’re playing Cowboy and Indians.
Extreme Weather, especially frigid wet conditions, can kill you in the short time span of 3 minutes.
A lack of water can kill you in 3 days through dehydration as the body shrivels like a prune.
No food will kill you in 3 weeks as the body consumes itself, eating fat, then muscle, then organs
It must be noted before continuing there are disagreements, difference of opinion would be better, within the survival community of which element of danger requires addressing first. Some say water, some say shelter while others maintain without fire you’re just wasting your time. Here is where you’ll have to utilize common sense. Caught in a snow storm … better find shelter. Desert environment … water is priority.
Let’s begin with shelter.
Short definition: “A structure that will protect you from the elements.” That protection can be in the form of an overhanging cliff, a fallen tree or a make-shift stick and leaves structure. Let’s look at 2 of the easiest shelters to build.
The lean-to is one of the simplest primitive shelters to construct, taking about an hour or so, depending on material availability, to build.
Step one: Locate a strong, somewhat straight pole and secure it between two trees. You can lash it, wedge it between low branches, whatever it takes to keep it from moving.
Step two: Lean sticks against the side until completely covered. These can be stripped of leaves or full of leaves as long as they are strong enough. Then heap leaves, grasses, palm leaves, whatever helps block the elements.
The shelter is not perfect. It doesn’t hold heat and if the rain or wind shifts direction it could pose a problem. However, it is quick and easy to build with little or no tools.
The Leaf Hut. This is essentially finishing the lean to structure, but requires more work and time, but offers better weather protection and insulation. Select a sturdy pole at least 9 to 12 feet long.
The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. To build one, select a long, sturdy pole 9 to12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the ridge pole. Place the ribs close together so that your hut covering won’t fall through. Next, heap vegetation over the framework (this can be anything that traps air, including grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs). Two to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides of the shelter is enough to keep you dry inside. Finally, fill the inside of the hut with a thick pile of vegetation for your bedding.
Not to debate evolution, but scientist that do subscribe to that theory maintain man broke away from animals due to the discovery of fire. Not just for warmth, protection, etc, but they maintain cooking the food, instead of consuming it raw, helped build brain cells and … well, the rest is history. Believe the theory or not there is no disputing fire is a vital element in a survival situation.
Don’t lose the ember
There are basic requirements for starting fire, no matter the method you use. You must have very dry flammable material which easily catches fire. Cotton balls, dry leaves, paper, wood shavings, dried moss, Brillo pad, paper money (won’t do you any good if you’re dead) cattails, the list is endless depending on location.
You must have elements (tools) in which to create an ember or spark. This can be two sticks, flint and steel, matches, lighter, magnifying glass, a battery, anything to create heat. Obviously some methods are extremely hard to perform successfully, while others are quite simple. I prefer simple. I highly recommend carrying some sort of fire-starter to insure success. Knives with built in fire-starters are available for instance.
Tip: Starting with an extremely flammable source of kindling is crucial and fabrication of a fire making tool (bow & string) can be trying. The actually physical effort required for starting a fire with primitive methods is exhausting and requires concentration. All this can lead to your forgetting to have an ample amount of small dry sticks to create a sustainable fire once you get your kindling going. Don’t forget fire building material.
Did you know if you make connections across the two poles of a battery with a Brillo pad, you will start a flame?
Water: Unless you are in weather conditions which can lead to imminent death, like minus 20 F, I believe finding water to be the number issue to resolve, and I say that because lack of water leads to the quickest death of all other dangers.
Just because you locate water doesn’t mean problem solved. Salt water will have to be desalinized, debris littered water will have to be strained, all water no matter how clean it appears should be boiled. I realize you can filter water with natural products, charcoal, sand, pebbles, and that may be the route you’re forced to take. But if possible … boil the water.
Even if the stream water is relatively clean and safe to drink, there are still parasites that although not deadly, can still give you a stomach ache or a little worse. You’re in a bad enough situation, why take an unnecessary risk because you decided to get lazy.
Food: Our bodies are used to eating and it’s a natural reflex to feel hungry as the body realizes it’s burning calories and not replacing them. However, unless you are in an expected long term situation, food is the last thing to worry about. But if you have a shelter built, a fire raging and a good supply of water … let’s go get some grub.
There are literally hundreds of types of snares, some easy to build, others not so much. I don’t have the time, energy or space to list a bunch of different types. However, I’ll tell you about one that I bet you’ve never thought of … a rat trap. It’s essentially nothing more than an over sized mouse trap, but can easily capture small game, squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, etc etc. This is a low-cost, low-tech, and easy to transport device and by incorporating simple food-based baits with these traps, you can be sure to have food and fur at camp each night.
Use your eyes to help your chances of eating. Scour the ground for droppings, rubs, foot prints, trails. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are in your area and are they a possible target. You may know moose are present, and you may even have a rifle, but a moose will range for miles and miles, an unlikely target.
Generally speaking, small game animals are active in the early morning and early evening. They are wary of being spotted by predators and cling to areas of dense vegetation and cover. They travel along the edges of open ground using fence-rows and waterways as a corridor. They are predictable and habitual; just like us. They tend to travel the same trails and will usually choose the path of least resistance. All of these traits can be exploited to put meat in your belly.
Lastly, Butchering & Preparing Food:
The only reason I mention this skill, because every animal is butchered differently, is because you can totally destroy the kill if you don’t take care. Number one, a sharp knife is the Most critical tool you need. Ever hear the saying “You won’t cut yourself with a sharp knife.”? A razor sharp knife allows you the control to carefully cut whatever it is you’re butchering, while a dull knife will require undue pressure and a sawing motion. Ingredients for an accident.
Pretend you are undressing a doll. Sounds dumb but it’s the best I could come up with. Slice through the fur and skin, not too deep as you don’t want to contaminate the meat with bile from the organs, around the legs, the head and down the belly. Begin at the head and begin peeling the fur and skin off. This is not an easy task and some animals are damn stubborn about giving up their coat even dead.
It will look better cooked
Remove all the internal organs, known as gutting, and discard, leaving only the meat to cook. Be sure to discard the guts far from your camp. You don’t want to eat it, but there are a lot of forest creatures, some you don’t want to meet, who will and they can smell it from miles away.
Survival is not just one thing. It’s a combination of education, experience, common sense, preparation and a host of other variables. Having all the fancy tools in the world won’t matter if you don’t know how to use them. Experiment, practice, read, observe. One day your life may depend on it.
It’s an unfortunate fact should you become involved in a crisis situation you will, if not immediately, eventually incur some sort of injury. Without treatment any wound, trivial or not, can become infected, but assuming you will be dirty and unable to properly sanitize yourself, the risk of serious infections skyrockets.
Suddenly feel like you should be leaning on your musket wearing a coon skin cap?
Best not to count on Walgreen or CVC being open for business as usual and hospitals, if available could either be inundated with injuries, or depending on the crisis … quarantined. You’re going to have to fend for yourself.
For a true survivalist the issue of possible injuries has been recognized and plans prepared, to the best of their ability anyway. But to a rookie or a recent convert to the situation … the fear experienced by realizing they don’t even have a bottle of aspirin, could be paralyzing.
Stop! Take a deep breath and think. Our ancestors dealt with the same problems. Ever visit a replica of a colonial town? The pharmacy had 5 or 6 bottles of powder on the shelf and a few mixing tools. In other words, for the most part pioneers handled their own medical treatment. You can do the same.
The same herbs, grasses, roots etc etc they used to treat minor ailments are most likely still growing right around you. You just have to know what you are looking for and what to do with it when you find it. Let’s begin.
Pain is nature’s way of notifying you something is wrong. Most of the time the degree of sustained pain equals the seriousness of the ailment, but not always. Now that we have acknowledged natures calling card … we’d sure like to do away with the pain, as no matter how small … it’s irritating.
Wild Lettuce and Prickly Lettuce aka Opium lettuces are excellent painkillers, which people have used for centuries to relieve pain. Those people didn’t care, but for your personal info, the medicine is non-additive and a great alternative to opioids. Although not native to North America, brought over from Europe, India & Pakistan, the lettuce pretty well grows everywhere in the continental USA.
Wild Lettuce grows to 3 – 4 feet tall and produces small yellow buds and has a bitter milky sap inside the leaves. This milky substance is known as Lactucarium, which affects the Central Nervous System, thus reducing and/or eliminating the pain, again non habit forming and risk of poisoning is zero.
There are three common methods to extract the medicine:
A. Pick a handful of leaves from the plant, cut them into small pieces, place them in a pot and pour just enough water in to entirely cover the leaves. Heat the pot, but be careful NOT to let the water begin to boil, that will compromise the medicinal value. Strain the leaves from the water, let pot continue to heat until the remaining liquid becomes syrupy. Drink after cooling.
B. Pick a handful of leaves. Allow them to dry, then grind them into a powder, make a herbal tea and drink it.
C. Dry the leaves and smoke them like a cigarette.
(Nymphaea alba) AKA Diareha-water lily is an aquatic plant that has many medical benefits for gastrointestinal conditions.
You will be digesting safe, yet abnormal foods, and your body may rebel until it becomes more accustom to the menu change. To treat this rebellion use the water lily.
The water lily is a perennial plant which grows in wet environments. The leaves and pads appear to float by themselves, but are actually attached to a flexible stalk which derives from the root (rhizomes). The leaves are nearly round, 7 to 12 inches across and have a slit which makes the plant appear to be a Pac-man character. The large white flowers with yellow centers have their own stalks, 25 or more petals which emit a strong fragrance when open in the daylight hours.
The rhizome (root) portion of the plant is where the medicinal value comes from, as it is an astringent. To make the medicine, use a non-aluminum pot, this is very important because aluminum alters the chemical structure of the plant. Fill it with about a pint of water. Note: Do not crush the rhizome until ready to place into water. Place a handful of crushed root, slowly heat to a simmer, do not boil. Allow about a ¼ of the water to boil off, cool, strain the solid particles from the liquid and drink.
The medicine is very good at treating diarrhea and dysentery.
Surviving in the wild, no matter where you are, except maybe Antarctica, you will have to deal with insects, which can make life a living hell. They are natures way of laughing at our agony, but as with most things in nature, there is a solution. Today’s modern bug repellents consists of Deet, which is not available naturally.
However, the Beauty Berry Bush (Callicarpa Americana) a deciduous shrub or bush, which grows in the Southeastern United States, contains a natural insect repellent which rivals Deet in effectiveness. This is not an old legend, this is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture findings.
Crush leaves and wipe them over your entire body and clothing. This will take time and will have to be repeated every few hours, depending on how much you sweat, but the relief will be worth it.
If you are lucky enough to have a few supplies. Crush the leaves and place them in a jar, pour rubbing alcohol into the jar until full, then secure cap. Allow this to sit for a few hours totally extracting the contents of the leaves into the alcohol. Remove as much of the leaves as possible and use the liquid to rub on the body and clothes.
Honey is not only a great food source, delightfully sweet and packed with energy, it is also a medicine. Use honey to treat a cough or raspy throat. It is also an antiseptic that can be smeared on cuts and burns. Be aware of getting honey in the wild, don’t tangle with African-i zed bees as they will ruin your day.
For general knowledge here are additional uses for honey.
Acne can be treated with honey. Thoroughly clean the face, apply raw honey to the area, allow to set for 30 minutes then wash off. The honey contains anti-bacterial properties and helps the skin stay moist.
Arthritis is basically the inflammation of the joint. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce pain and swelling.
Believe it or not locally produced honey can help reduce allergies. Allergies are the result of a negative reaction to pollen. Honey is produced by using this local pollen. Repeated eating of the honey will result in the body building an immunity to the negative effects of the pollen. This is not an overnight cure, but it will work.
Red Alder Tree
If you have never experienced the itchy agony of having poison ivy or poison oak, count your blessings. The red rash and bumps contact with the plants cause are miserable, especially if you have no treatment available to curb the spread and lessen the itching.
Luckily the Red Alder tree (Alnus rubra) is native to North America. The tree is hard to miss as it can grow to over a 100 feet tall. The bark is a mottled light gray and is relatively smooth to the touch. The leaves are ovate, 4-5 inches long with a serrated edge.
Pick a large handful of green leaves, Not dead leaves, crush them into a powder, place them into a container of water and bring to a simmer. Let the leaves to set in the water allowing its chemical properties to leech into the water. Once cooled use a rag or cloth, saturated with the broth and wipe all over the effected area. Continue this treatment until the rash is completely gone.
A sore throat, besides being painful and aggravating, is a sign of inflammation caused by an infection. Left untreated the infection could morph into a serious disease, such as strep throat. Native Americans would take pieces of the Hack-berry tree bark, crush it into a powder and make a tea of it. Repeat this treatment until the soreness is gone.
The Zanthoxylum clava-herculis tree is a two edged sword. It is an excellent pain reliever, but only grows in the Southeastern United States. It’s commonly known as The Toothache Tree because chewing on its leaves or bark causes the mouth, tongue, lips and teeth to go numb.
Identification is quite simple because the bark appears to have little pyramids growing out it. Not easily ignored.
I considered making this a post of its own, but we are talking about making brews to drink, rubbing leaves on ourselves and smoking leaves. So I thought it may be prudent to continue the lesson with the direct opposite of medicine … poison.
A person can become poisoned by ingestion (eating), contact (physically touching) or inhalation (breathing it in)
What are the effects of accidentally becoming poisoned? It can range from a mild skin irritation to death. Some people ask “How poisonous is such and such plant?” This question is nearly impossible to answer definitively because:
Some plants require you to come into contact with a large amount of its leaves or bark, while others will cause death with only minute contact.
Every plant, possibly growing in the same area, will contain various amounts of the toxins depending on soil content. A plant that comes into water runoff containing Miracle Grow will produce more toxins than a water starved plant.
Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances. Most people happily eat peanut butter, while that same substance is a deadly poison to others.
When dealing with a possible life or death situation, its imperative we dispel misconceptions, or “I heard” logic. For instance, Watch what animals eat, it won’t be poisonous. Most of the time this is true, but not always. A honey badger can withstand numerous strikes from a cobra, which is on their menu, not so a human.
If you boil the plant in water all the poison will be removed. Again, not true in all cases. Just like boiling water removes enough bacteria to make the water safe to drink, it does not destroy everything the water contains. The same with all red plants are poisonous. Not always true, Nature has a habit of making red and/or bright colors as a warning, but cherries are red and chocolate covered cherries are a delight.
The bottom line is…. there is no one set rule or guideline to identifying poisonous plants. Only education, learning the native poisonous plants will totally protect you. If in doubt … don’t eat it.
Beware plants are great impersonators, as many poisonous plants look exactly like another edible plant. At a causal glance Poison hemlock appears very similar to a wild carrot. Possibly worse yet, some plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth, but not in others. A Poke weed is safe to eat when it first starts to grow, but becomes poisonous as it ages. A May-apple is edible, but ONLY the ripe fruit, the green parts are poisonous. Did you know potatoes and tomatoes are perfectly safe to eat (obviously) but their green parts are poisonous.
To repeat: Unless your are absolutely sure of what the plant is and the possible danger … do not eat it!
Mushrooms are extremely difficult to identify and unless precise … could be deadly. Mushrooms attack the gastrointestinal and central nervous system, some causing death very quickly, quicker than a poisonous snake bite, and some deadly mushrooms have no known anti-dote.
In addition to eating harmful plants, poisoning by contact is the most common method of contamination. Common plants like poison ivy excretes an oil which gets on the skin during contact, which can cause persistent and irritating itching, and scratching the area can cause it to spread. This oil can also be spread person to person. A person has the oil on his hands, grabs the steering wheel of the tractor, and the next person grabbing the steering wheel contracts the poison.
You will rarely, if ever, see a rancher or farmer burning brush without a mask of some sort covering his mouth and nose. The smoke created when burning poisonous plants can be just as dangerous as the plant, if fact possibly much worse because you inhale the poison into your respiratory system.
Points to remember: If you do eat any plants, keep a log and a sample of it. If accidental poisoning occurs the medical personnel can quickly tell which plant caused the illness.
Signs of possible poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, depressed/slowed heartbeat and breathing, headaches, hallucinations, a dry mouth, falling unconscious. Coma and death can quickly follow these symptoms so don’t brush them off as no big deal.
We’ve always been told not to drink saltwater, specifically referring to the ocean. It’s traditional wisdom we don’t question, but why not? We question everything else. Why can’t we drink saltwater? To answer that question we’ll have to turn to some medical expertise to see the effects of saltwater on our bodies.
So let’s begin with the question: What happens to our body when we drink saltwater?
It seems logical if we are drinking water, salty or not, we are replenishing much needed fluids our body requires to function properly, avoiding dehydration. However, in reality if we drink 3 ounces of saltwater, our body will expel 5 or more ounces of the fluid we’re trying to replenish. How can that be? It’s done through a process known as osmosis, and we’ll learn how that works before we’re finished.
Let’s begin with the kidneys. The kidney’s act as the body’s filtering system, removing harmful, unneeded or unwanted impurities from the blood, storing this waste in the form of urine, which we excrete when we urinate. This necessary and natural process keeps our body healthy, which is why people with kidney problems must go through dialysis, a medical manual filtering and cleaning of the blood.
It’s important to note the kidneys only filter liquid, solid waste is handled in a different part of the body by different organs. Here’s the rub, the kidneys can only make urine out of water with less than 2% salt content. Saltwater normally contains 3.5% salt, therefore it cannot be turned into urine. So how does the body get rid of it? The kidneys must rob other parts of the body of enough water to dilute the salt to 2% or less. What other parts? Our cells.
Body cells are isotonic, which means they must contain 2% or less of salt to remain healthy. The cell’s membrane is semipermeable, which by design, makes sodium entering into the cell extremely difficult, a safety precaution to keep excess salt out, however, water can move through the membrane easily. The body likes equalization and when the salt content in the blood becomes too high, water is extracted from the cell to reduce the salinity of the blood. This process is called osmosis and can have disastrous results, because as the cells excrete water they shrink in size and that ain’t good.
The kidneys are not the only organs negatively affected by too much salt. If you consume alcohol you are probably aware of the signs that you are over indulging and are starting to become intoxicated. Your body motions are not as fluid and coordinated, your thought process becomes muddled, you may begin to slur your words. Well, the early signs of salt poisoning are quite similar, as you’re becoming intoxicated on salt exactly the way you become intoxicated on alcohol.
When you become intoxicated the Central Nervous System (CNS) is negatively affected. The CNS is responsible for controlling every function of the body from breathing to thinking to controlling your bladder. When the CNS becomes intoxicated it senses the body is not reacting normally, therefore it reduces blood flow to what it deems less critical body functions. In other words, you may stumble or have trouble thinking logically, but you remain breathing and your heart continues to pump. If the CNS continues to become more intoxicated, more saltwater consumed, it will take more drastic actions to maintain life and this can become disastrous.
Salt poisoning can provoke anything from very mild symptoms such as jittery-ness, lethargic reactions and confusion… to more deadly reactions such as dehydration, which can then lead to a spike in blood pressure, seizure and a coma. Let’s exam how these happen.
The jitters by themselves may not seem like a terrible reaction to have, merely a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing. But keep in mind that along with jitters comes a possibility of a dangerous increase in respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. Continued exposure to both those symptoms can lead to much more severe responses such as a myo-cardial infarction, or a heart attack. Likewise, lethargy and confusion can impair judgment and inhibit good decision making, such as I’m in real stress and require medical help.
Seizures can not only be extremely scary, they can be life altering. Normally an intoxicated induced seizure does little to no harm, but repeated episodes can lead to brain damage, because all seizures create bleeding around the brain and any such abnormal activity around the brain is dangerous.
I’ve tried to satisfy the intellect of my readers, but now I’ll bring it down to my level. If you’re chugging seawater thinking your doing yourself any good, you are actually taking in sodium that is incurring a net loss of water, leading to depleted body fluids, muscle cramps, dry mouth, and yes, thirst.
The body tries to compensate for fluid loss by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels to maintain blood pressure and flow to vital organs. You’re also most likely to feel nausea, weakness and even delirium, and as you become more dehydrated, the coping mechanism continues to fail. If you don’t drink enough water to reverse the effects of excess sodium, the brain and other organs receive less blood, leading to coma, organ failure and eventually death.
I temporarily loss my mind and drank a lot of saltwater. Is there any way to reverse the effects of the saltwater poisoning? The best way to reverse any potential side-effects of salt poisoning is to consume large volumes of fresh water in order to dilute it. Depending on the degree of poisoning, the body may be able to purge the excess salt on its own. However, you still must increase your freshwater intake in order to replace missing fluids. However, while trying to replace the saltwater volume with fresh water, you must be careful to not do so too quickly. The body and brain adapt quickly to the higher concentration of salt, a rapid infusion of freshwater before it can effectively rid itself of saltwater can cause the brain cells to swell, which can lead to brain swelling, damage and ultimately death.
In a situation where freshwater isn’t easily available to you, but will be shortly, attempting to purge the saltwater is a good start. If you’ve had too much to purge effectively, and no freshwater is on hand, electrolyte rich alternatives such as coconut water is a good alternative. However if this method is used, you should see a physician quickly after to assure that an imbalance hasn’t occurred.
In the event that someone has already started to exhibit some of the more severe symptoms of salt poisoning, it’s imperative to get them to a physician, hospital or para-medical personnel as quickly as possible.
Bottom line: Don’t drink the water if it’s salty.
Just a Grunt
The first pearls of wisdom I’ll offer to my readers are : “Don’t wish your life away.”
Everyone does it. I wish I was old enough to drive, to vote, to have a credit card, wish I was at least a sophomore so I could date that junior and maybe best of all … to drink beer. I went through everyone of these wishes, but the astonishing thing to me was that was Last Century. That’s right … the Twentieth Century. So trust me … you’ll be old soon enough.
They say being old beats the alternative … being dead, and I can’t argue that point. I remember hearing the janitor at my elementary school when a teacher would ask him how he was doing. “I’m on the right side of the grass today,” he’d say. People joke about age and death because that’s all you can do. There ain’t no changing the process … God still controls some things.
My doctors tell me I have a Compulsive Behavior disorder, that once I start something I become consumed with it. And as I exam myself … they are quite correct. Start on a chocolate cake … can’t stop until its all gone. Start building a deck, won’t stop, no matter how many mistakes I have to backup and correct, until its finished. Start smoking, won’t stop until I have open heart surgery, two as a matter of fact. Yep, that’s me … pedal to the metal.
It suddenly dawned on me that when I began this blog, never knew what a blog was until I started one, that I never properly introduced myself. Please forgive me for my bad manners, it was not intentional. It’s just that I don’t think of myself as a very interesting person, and definitely not worth a lengthy bio.
Yesterday I was trying to explain to my dear wife, Deb, what I was trying to accomplish with this little project. Now that may seem hardly news worthy, but imagine someone, who really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, trying to explain to a person who hasn’t a clue what the subject is. It really didn’t go well. My wife, sensing my building frustration asked “Do they know who you are?”
“No,” I mumbled “How are they suppose to know who I am? It’s a damn computer.”
“Well, I’d want to know who I was listening to,” she said as she left my office. “Even if he is a grumpy old man,” she called back over her shoulder.
As usual my loving wife was quite correct. I hesitated, but did tell her she was right with a kiss on the cheek. I always do the cheek test to see if she’s mad enough to turn her head before I try the lips. So here I go … putting pen to paper, writing that boring bio.
My name is Jim and I’m quite a bit to North of 50 years old. Kinda like the North pole is kinda north of Mexico. It took me 3 times to get marriage right, but I hit the jackpot with this woman. Between us we have 5 kids, who do an excellent job of driving us crazy, and 5 grand-kids, a pure joy.
Never Was a Doomsday Believer
My oldest Son, has always been a prepper, survivalist, or whatever the current term for someone who believes the end of the world is coming. I never scoffed at him, but there were times all I could do was shake my head and wonder where I went wrong. I’m not saying the end isn’t coming … I just couldn’t see any sense worrying about it. And especially wasting time and money preparing for it.
Why so skeptical? Like I said … I’ve seen and experienced a lot in my life. They say when a life changing event happens you will remember exactly what you were doing and where you when it happened. I totally believe believe that.
I was in Lusher elementary school the day President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. I distinctly remember the blackness that fell over the halls and classrooms, remembering my teacher crying, so we cried too. The screech of the intercom, which every classroom had, still echoes in my head, when the announcement was made by the principal.
I was at home recovering from open heart surgery when the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon happened. I realized how the people who were listening to Orson Wells’ broadcast of the “War of the Worlds” must have felt. It was so surreal watching reports on television as events unfolded. Was this real? Could something this horrendous actually be happening? I distinctly remember standing in the hallway watching the TV in the living room, seemingly frozen in place instead of continuing on into living room and sitting down in the chair.
I was barely old enough to remember reports about the Korean war and an armistice being signed, had no idea what that was at the time, but everyone seemed happy about it, so I assumed it was a good thing. Remember grandpa saying “Glad that war is put to bed.” Never could figure out what he meant by that. Appears that nightmare has gotten out of bed.
I was military ripe age when Vietnam went into full blown warfare. It was classified a police action, felt more like the end of the world to me. It’s extremely difficult to explain the feeling of being hit with the concussion wave of an explosive devise, and the body parts returning to their original positioning. In fact, it’s just Impossible. Then you had the clinches “Don’t worry about hearing bullets zinging over head, you won’t hear the one that gets you.” Very comforting.
I watched the clashes between police and anti-war protesters, Kent State was a travesty.
I saw Nixon’s downfall and thought how stupid he had been. There wasn’t a whole lot of love loss between he and I due to the war.
I watched Watts burn on TV and thought how dumb burning your own part of the city. If I were black I’d burn the white part of the city.
Martin Luther King’s assassination was a blow to anyone of any sense. It seemed a peaceful solution died when he did.
Then came the Iran hostage situation, I knew one of the Marines captured, Rocky was from Washington, Mo. It was a trying time. Home interest rates were 19% … you heard that right. The country was in a recession and gasoline was on the verge of being rationed.
The two Gulf Wars. Taliban, Isis, Bin Laden, terrorist bombings.
“Okay, you’ve been through more bad times than some and less than others, why all of a sudden the change of heart towards becoming a survivalist?”
In a word ….. Trump !!!
“Oh, here we go with the politics again!” “Another bleeding heart liberal gonna trash the conservative god.”
Number one I consider myself an Independent. For instance, I believe in food stamps for hungry children, but not welfare for any able body male. Sounds sexist. Maybe it is, but women are normally forced to tend to the children because of a dead beat dad … there must be different rules applied.
We have had great Presidents, some not so great and some just pretty much plain bad. But…. we have never had a president whose sole purpose is to destroy America. I firmly believe that is what Trump and his comrades are intent on doing. My reasoning?
Anyone, in the face of overwhelming proven facts, who doesn’t believe the Russians attacked Americas’ election process to insure Trump’s winning is an absolute fool! I’m not debating the extent of Trump’s involvement, although I believe he’s in it up to his weird hairdo, but rather the influence of a hostile foreign government playing a hand in electing our President.
At the current time, 9 months into the administration, 90% of all government vacancies, created by Trump firing the people, are still vacant. These are not janitor positions. These are ambassadors to foreign countries, which squash disagreements between us and others before hostilities break out. Judges are not appointed creating a massive clogging of the judicial system, etc, etc. In fact the State Departments’ budget is being gutted leaving a shell of an agency. A structured breakdown of peaceful resolutions.
The EPA, those people that keep smog from hiding cities from view, stops rivers from bursting into flames and keep our children safe from cancer causing toxins. It’s also being gutted and regulations that have stood through Democratic and Republican administrations are being eliminated.
National Parks and protected areas are being reduced by millions and millions of acres, sold off to mining and oil drilling companies. These are parts of America set aside for the enjoyment of current and future Americans and can not ever be reclaimed.
The hoopla you hear on the daily news is nothing but a well designed distraction from what is actually happening behind the scenes. America is so embroiled in its bitter hatred of one another, something Trump is amazing at exploiting, nobody sees are cares about the destruction going on around us.
This is not the America I fought for, nor want my grandchildren to grow up in, but I’m only 1 little old man, and more or less powerless to change anything.
That’s why I am feverishly working on this survival blog. I want people to have the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming crisis. I want to educate and make things available for people, who through no fault of their own, will be plunged into despair.
I gotta say “I’m not the bearded robed guy on the street corner predicting the end of the world and demanding you repent. Even though that may not be a bad idea,”
What I am is an old man who has seen a lot in his lifetime and have Never, with the exceptions of rice paddies, been afraid of anything. But my friends, I am quite fearful for our future and as long as God allows me to … I’ll bring all the information and products I can to help you protect your families.
Good luck trying to get three (3) or more people in today’s environment to agree on anything. A beautiful sunny day … no, we need rain. Don’t even start on politics. Therefore, I’ll assume you will grant me some slack on the issue of creating shelters from a tarp.
That blue, comes in various colors, tarp that we use to throw over our firewood in order to keep it dry, or drape over our prized antique auto to keep the leaves from staining it, that very tarp could prove essential in helping insure you stay alive in a survival situation. Let’s look at some variations of shelter building with a tarp.
Wedge Tarp Tent
This type of shelter is very good for windy conditions, specifically when the wind is blowing constantly from the same direction. The wedge design provides an aerodynamic shape which disperses the wind and rain away from the main opening. The installation will require at least 5 tie down pegs, of course the more the merrier.
To build the wedge tarp shelter, simply stake down two corners of the tarp into the wind (not opposing corners). Then tie up a line to the center of the opposite side of the tarp. Tie the remaining two corners down toward the ground. Use more cord and of a less steep angle for open wings and better ventilation. Tie the last corners down sharply for the best weatherproofing.
This design is great for keeping rain off you and the campfire, as well as offering shade from a blistering hot sun. Obviously the size of the tarp dictates the area size to be protected, but the rope tie downs can be as long as necessary. To hang the wing tarp tie up opposing corners of a tarp, two up high and two in lower positions. Be sure the tie downs are secure as a sudden gust of wind will make the tarp react like a ship’s sail, billowing and breaking loose if not secured taunt.
The Tarp Burrito
Let me begin by saying this is not only one of my least favorite shelter, but I’d say use as a last resort. Why? Because you will be relatively tightly wrapped inside the tarp there will be little to no ventilation, which causes moisture to form. And as we all know moisture permeating a sleeping bag is not good. However, there will be situations which require you to use this type of protection so let’s learn how to build it.
It looks easy, just roll up in it, but that’s a sure fire method to insure discomfort. Lay the tarp out in the area you are going to sleep in. Fold one side over @ 1/3 of the way, straighten, then fold again, in the same direction. This will form a loosely rolled tarp where the seam is on the bottom. Tuck one end of the tarp underneath itself, closing the end, then carefully shove your sleeping bag into the center of the roll.
Depending on the length of the tarp, if there is quite a bit of excess length, you can place rocks on the folded under portion to insure it stays closed. The configuration is complete, all seams are under you which keeps them pinned down by your body weight and you have a flap for an opening which you can close or leave open depending on conditions.
Chances are you probably built a primitive tee pee as a child. It’s the original American home built by Native Americans, originally covered with animal hides, then replaced by canvas.
There are many traditional ways to build a tee-pee, remember it housed entire families, but for a quick field shelter we’ll stay simple. Use rope or twine to bundle a few (3 or 4) straight poles together, lacking twine, use forked sticks to lock together. Place other poles in a circle around the main supports. Pull the tarp or other covering into place, and tie down well. Try to size the framework so that you tarp covers it completely.
Practical tip: Make the tarp come together so that you have a door flap, which can be closed in cold or wet weather; or opened for ventilation and easy egress.
A-Frame Tarp Shelter
The A-frame is designed to offer the greatest protection against rain and wind when secured close to the ground, or still protect against rain but allow ventilation when constructed higher off the ground.
An A-frame goes up fast. Simply secure cordage, rope, twine, or a long straight stick between two trees. Throw the tarp over the support, center, secure to the ground and bingo. You’re done.
This type of shelter originated with desert cultures, particularly in Northern Africa and the Middle East, dating back 100’s of years. Due to the recent warfare in these areas American military includes it in their survival training.
To get started with this shelter, you’ll need two tarps and several dozen feet of rope. Locate a natural indention in the ground or dig your own low spot. Lay one of your tarps out over the low spot and drive stakes at each corner of the tarp.
Secure the second tarp tightly to tie down stakes, leaving one foot or two of air space between the two tarps. The idea is to keep you insulated from the heat radiating from the ground and shaded from the direct sunlight overhead. The temperature differences between under and outside the tent could be 20 – 30 degrees F. An incredible difference.
This is an excellent and comfortable survival tool, but I only mention it in case you want to tinker with constructing one. I say that because it requires you to tie knots that the normal person lacks the knowledge to perform.
This is a quick way to improvise a hammock to get off the ground in wet or bug-infested environments. Use an 8 x 10 tarp and some ¼ inch braided nylon rope. Start out with one of the long sides of the tarp and roll it up halfway across the entire tarp. Then roll up the other long side to meet the first, so that the whole thing looks like a 10-foot long, two roll bundle. Now, tie a sheet bend securely to each end of the tarp, leaving 15 feet or so of rope on each end to tie to your trees. Select leg-thick or thicker trees about 10 feet apart, and securely tie the end of each rope to a tree, as high as you can reach.
Wrap around the tree twice for good grip on the bark, and then use two half hitches, with an extra hitch for added security. Tie to the trees high up to compensate for the settling of the hammock as the knots cinch down. You can tie up another tarp as an “A” frame between the two trees that the hammock hangs from to give yourself a roof.
Survival Tip: To help minimize critters from walking down your tie lines to you, spray each cord with bug repellent. To insure snakes are discouraged soak rags in kerosene and tie to the lines, which will also ward off bugs. The smell may not be pleasant, but snakes in the hammock are worse. (In my opinion anyway)
**** Be sure to not sleep too close to an open flame if using this method. Obviously kerosene is highly flammable.
Is the plastic tarp the most important tool in your survival kit? No. But it plays its part in the overall strategy of surviving in a crisis situation.
There doesn’t have to be a Zombie apocalypse to find yourself confronted with a life threatening situation of possibly freezing to death. We are so accustomed to feeling a chill and turning the thermostat up for more heat, that the thought of that not being possible doesn’t cross our mind. A failing antiquated power grid structure is more prone to failure than the governments or power companies are willing to admit. Terrorists, hackers, natural disasters, etc, etc are realistic issues.
And it doesn’t have to only be at home. Stranded on a snow closed road, weather suddenly turning deadly while on a short hike for your health. The possibilities are endless, but the main issue is “How do you survive such a situation?” Let’s begin with learning methods on how to protect our families from the elements.
How do you die from just being cold? The physical effects on the human body from cold temperatures is known as Hypothermia, which is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. The first symptom begins with shivering, which we all have encountered, as the body begins to address the situation by producing heat. With no relief the body will continue to shiver, which also includes shivering of the teeth, to the point you will not be able to control it.
As the body’s temperature lowers the brain becomes affected, thought process becomes sluggish, then turns to irrational as it tells your body you feel warm. This is often the tipping point where people subconsciously decide they are warm and very, very tired falling into sleep and dying. Death comes at approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 Celsius, core body temperature.
What does the enemy look like?
Cold temperatures are bad enough, but add wet conditions and you have a double whammy. Water is very efficient in exchanging heat, in other words, it saps the heat from your body very rapidly. That’s why it is imperative to never lay directly on the ground when sleeping. Even if there is no snow cover the ground holds frozen moisture which acts like a sponge absorbing body heat.
Windchill is another culprit. You may have heard weather people talk about wind chill in context of the temperature feels so & so. The windchill will always be below the actual temperature, the critical thing is your body reacts to the windchill condition. In other words you’ll be contending with the physical aspects of -10 degrees windchill, not 18 degrees temperature.
Let’s start with a few basic principles of cold weather survival.
It’s an undisputed fact that your head acts like a fireplace chimney, a direct outlet for your body to lose 40-45% of its heat. Therefore, it goes without saying “always keep your head covered.” The warmer the hat the better, but if nothing else, tie a cloth or handkerchief about your head.
Another point from the reverse angle. If a person is suffering heat exhaustion medical treatment is to rub ice on the neck, wrist and ankles, because blood flow is strong at these points. The same logic should be used for the cold, protect wrists, ankles and your neck.Four keep warm basics.
Keep clothing clean. Your clothing serves as insulation and any soil, such as damp dirt, or any other substance that compromises insulation value is not good.
Wear clothes that are loose and use layers instead of one heavy piece of clothing. There are reasons for this. Wearing layers provides the opportunity to shed or add clothing as the situation dictates. Additionally, there is air trapped between the layer of clothing and this adds insulation.
Do not wear clothes with tight cuffs. Hands and feet are the farthest extremities from the heart and are the last to receive blood flow during normal activity, and the first to be cutoff if the body perceives it must conserve energy and heat. The tight clothing will only compound the problem of restricted blood flow.
Avoid overheating and sweating. That sounds out of place when we’re discussing freezing to death, but …. remember shoveling snow and how sweaty you became despite it being below freezing. Just because you’re in frigid conditions doesn’t mean you can not overheat. How does the body try to cool down … sweating.
Sweating, activating the body’s air conditioning system, is bad enough, as a short term heat loss mechanism. But if your clothing becomes wet your insulation, instead of retaining heat, becomes a conductor which will draw the body’s heat for an extended time. Depending on how wet the clothing becomes, it could lead to your death.
Tip: Remember your head being a chimney for heat loss? If you are in a situation you cannot control and begin to sweat, uncover your head. This vent will help reduce sweating.
Keep clothing dry is kinda self explanatory, but also easier said than done in some conditions. Snow is a strange creature, it can be dry and powdery or wet and heavy depending on weather conditions. Obviously water repellent clothing is the best choice if possible, but depending on the circumstances, they may be hanging in your closet at home.
More than likely you will get wet to some degree. The key is to minimize the degree of moisture and that will require your use of logic, because there are a 100 different variables neither I nor anyone else can anticipate involved in your decisions.
For example, a damp overcoat. You don’t want the clothing to continue holding water, as more water equals less protection. Spread the coat over a tree or bush exposing it to the sun. The sun, although the temperature is frigid, will still dry the coat if its not too saturated. Removing the coat also eliminates it absorbing more sweat. A slight wind is a two edged sword. It’ll help dry the clothing, but is also a possible danger to you.
If you have a shelter hang the clothes inside near the ceiling as heat rises and will speed drying. If you have a shelter you may have a fire, which of course is your best method of drying clothing. There are a few precautions to adhere to in doing this. Resist the urge to hurry the drying process. Placing articles of clothing too close to the fire could result in them catching fire. Now you went from wet clothes to no clothes. Heard of a win-win situation? This is a lose-lose one.
Too Close To Campfire
Footwear is difficult to dry. Tennis shoes, God forbid wearing them, will have to be dried as clothing, but will take a long time to dry, and will be stiff and probably deformed to some degree. This bodes bad for developing blisters. Leather boots can also be saturated with moisture which will require a long drying process to draw all the water out. Trying to rush the process can result in the leather shrinking and distorting.
A sleeping bag, especially a good one, can be a life saver in a cold weather survival situation. However, if it gets wet or even really damp, it can quickly go from an asset to a liability, and drying it out is nearly impossible. Even if you do succeed in drying it, a lot of the insulating factor is reduced. Never place the sleeping bag in direct contact with the ground. Find some protective material, weeds, leaves, sticks, anything to avoid direct contact with the moist ground.
Personal hygiene can become a factor over an extended time period. You saying you want me to wash my naked body in the cold weather? Yep. The very conditions that help keep your body warm, preventing heat loss, can also cause the body harm, such as developing a rash. Washing away harmful bacteria will reduce the chances of developing rashes or other skin infections.
Additional issues to be aware of: Frostbite
We’ll delve a little deeper into this issue because it is so severe and common.
Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. But frostbite can occur on skin covered by gloves or other clothing.
The first stage of frostbite, doesn’t cause permanent skin damage. You can treat very mild frostbite with first-aid measures, including rewarming your skin. All other frostbite requires medical attention because it can damage skin, tissues, muscle and bones. Possible complications of severe frostbite include infection and nerve damage.
Signs & symptoms of frostbite include:
Cold skin and a stinging or prickly feeling.
Numbness of the affected area
Red, white or bluish-white or yellow skin coloring
Hard skin, clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
Blistering of affected area after rewarming.
Frost nip is the first stage and does not result in permanent skin damage.
Superficial Frostbite is the second stage where the skin reddens then turns white. The skin may retain a soft feeling, but ice crystals are beginning to form in the tissue. Your skin may begin to feel warm, which is a red flag that serious skin damage is occurring. Rewarming the affected area at this stage will result in the skin appearing blue or purple and you’ll experience stinging, burning and swelling.
Severe frostbite affects all layers of the skin and the underlying tissue. You will experience numbness, then losing all feeling in the affected area. Joints and muscles will most likely not respond and large blisters will form 24-48 hours after rewarming. The area will turn black as the tissue dies and amputation is the only recourse.
I think you can see why I spent a little extra time on this subject.
Trench-foot is another dangerous skin condition. The name is derived from WWI when soldiers in the trenches developed the ailment due to prolonged standing in wet conditions. The skin will appear pruned or shriveled, like your fingers do when swimming for an extended time. If not corrected the skin will turn a bluish or blackish color, the feet will swell making walking very painful. Simple solution is keep feet dry. A soldier will choose an extra pair of socks over almost anything else.
Dehydration can be a sneaky adversary. Water consumption is the first thing you consider in the desert, but rarely think about in cold weather environments, but it’s just as crucial for survival. Always check the color of your urine. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are even if you don’t feel it. You must stay hydrated, however, don’t pick up a handful of snow and eat it. The cold of the snow will drain body heat. Melt the snow to liquid form before consuming.
Lastly, let’s talk snow blindness, which is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays reflecting off the snow. Talk to anyone who has welded a lot and they can tell you the effects of ultra-violet rays produced by the arc welding procedure. Same for ultra-violet rays from the sun. You will feel a sandy grittiness in the eyes causing pain and discomfort which increases with eye movement. The eyes will turn red with increased sensitivity to light and you may experience a severe headache.
The only treatment for snow blindness is resting the eyes from any light. Depending on the degree of burn, this may include bandages completely covering the eyes, or bandages with slight slits or holes to allow limited sight, but maximum protection. Unchecked this could result in permanent blindness so take take it lightly.
The intent of my articles is to arm people with the knowledge to help them survive. I hope you learned something new.
There was once a fable of the tale of a dispute between an Ostrich and an Owl that goes something like this:
One day an ostrich and an owl were discussing the day’s events when they spotted a snake slithering stealthily towards an unsuspecting mouse. Mr. Owl became very anxious as he analyzed the possible future results of what he was witnessing. In his expert opinion he knew the snake was poisonous and mice were its favorite menu item. Therefore, he declared the mouse would be killed and eaten by the snake. He thought hooting to warn the mouse of impending danger was the correct thing to do.
However, Mr. Ostrich begged to differ with the owl’s hypothesis, declaring he knew this snake personally and killing wasn’t in his genes. It just could not happen the way owl predicted. Just didn’t make sense. He adamantly disagreed with issuing a warning as it would only disturb the tranquility of the woods.
Well, the snake did not kill the mouse, for it was a black snake and preferred to dine on other snakes, such as the green snake hidden in a clump of grass nearby the mouse.
Moral of the story: Mr. Owl over analyzed and assumed more than he knew were actual facts. The snake was not poisonous, but it was a killer, and although the snake did not kill the mouse … it killed another snake.
Mr. Ostrich ignored all the facts that were quite obvious, it was a snake, it was hunting and it appeared the mouse was the target. Now neither were 100% correct in their assumptions, however, Mr. Ostrich’s failure to admit the snake was a predator and would kill resulted in the death of the green snake.
To be honest with you, this is not an ancient tale, I just made it up. But I wanted to demonstrate, what I think, the current difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats hoot a warning at everything, thinking they know all the facts. While the Republicans hide their heads in the sand ignoring what facts are known to be true.
You’ll Be Glad You Checked This Out
This stupid illogical debate between, it’s hard to say, our leaders, I fear are leading us down the road of destruction. Let’s exam just a few small possibilities, that increase daily, which could spell the end of mankind as we know it.
As you read I hope you’ll come to appreciate fully the need to learn the survival tips and energy creating methods available … they may help you save your family.
The threat of nuclear war has suddenly increased exponentially.
There have only been two nuclear bombs detonated in war, those used to end WWII with Japan. The Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, but the horrors of WWII were still fresh in minds of the two world powers, America and Russia, and cooler heads prevailed averting a possible catastrophe.
Although more countries acquired the nuclear capability in the past 50 years, they were normal stationary societies, India for example, that were never considered callous in their intent of using nuclear power for destruction.
Recently, terrorists have embarked on a never ending quest to acquire and use nuclear devises to destroy, the Infidel. These threats are not localized but extend to every country on earth. The rogue nation of North Korea now threatens the world with their insinuations of setting America and its allies ablaze.
The North Korean dictator is an unstable and cruel person, killing without thought or concern, in order to maintain power. Would he start a nuclear war rather than lose his hold on the country. In my opinion, yes.
The world has UN-explicitly changed and now the world’s greatest power and holder of nuclear weapons is ruled by a man-child quite capable of unleashing a nuclear holocaust onto the world. Any world leader simple minded enough to insult everyone, no one is off limits including the Pope, and thin skinned enough to launch nuclear weapons because of a school playground round on name calling, is equally as dangerous.
Should these two, I dare say, madmen, unleash nuclear weapons the millions caught in the immediate blast zones would quite likely be the lucky ones. Their life is over, but the survivors will have to deal with the terrifying results while trying to maintain a slippery grasp on life.
The most terrifying, yet misunderstood threat of a nuclear war is the nuclear winter that will follow. The soot that would be lifted into the stratosphere would encircle the entire world blocking the sun’s power, resulting in multiple years of cooling and drying of the earth’s environment. (Estimates differ as the length of the winter, but who cares if it’s 5 or 50 years, the result will be the same)
Agriculture would wither and die, the oceans would become a dead zone and mankind will slowly die away and possibly become extinct.
A Bio-engineered Pandemic is a current risk.
Natural pandemics, such as the Black Plague,have killed far more people than wars. Chemical warfare was used extensively in WWI and although the world recognizes the danger and signed pledges to never utilize the weapons, its use continues today, such as in Syria.
How ever horrible and deadly natural pandemics are, the threat of them being an existential threat to mankind is highly unlikely. There always seems to be people who are resistant to the pathogen and their off-springs are immune to the effects.
It’s also an unwritten law of nature that parasites do not wipe out their host, thus committing suicide themselves. Syphilis is such an example, once nearly totally fatal, it has evolved to a chronic illness.
The nightmare we now face is man’s ability to take a disease and make it more deadly than its original form. Mouse-pox and bird flu are two examples of how generically altered diseases can become more contagious and deadly.
Biotechnology is dangerous and expensive, thus most research is performed by governments for military use. The key here is wiping out an entire group of humanity is not militarily useful, therefore there will always be an anti-dote developed in order to control the infection.
But … as cost go down and fanatics become more extreme the possibly of nut jobs, such as the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which believed the earth is better off without humans, and released bio-weapons, is an increasing concern.
Super-intelligence could develop into an unstoppable danger.
I’d venture to say most people have seen one or more movies of the Terminator series, which pits machines against man, machines attempting to eradicate mankind. The movies are based on science fiction and just like the Flash Gordon movies of the past, could not possibly happen. But …. wait. Those old science fiction movies delved into man going into space, Dick Tracy had a watch you could view the other person you were talking to, the list of “no way that could happen” goes on and on. But … It has happened.
We have already developed software that automatically, without any human input, improves itself making itself smart and faster. These intelligent entities are designed to overcome all obstacles in order to achieve a goal, whatever that may be. There’s the rub. What says the goal will be good?
Do machines have feelings, emotions, moral codes? Mankind doesn’t adhere to a strict code of conduct, why would machines? Even if we could infuse our morals into artificial intelligence, what do we infuse? Human values are diffuse, was Hitler just like us, and are quite difficult to explain. And if we could … would the machine understand or care?
Perhaps the scariest aspect of the intellectual technology is our complete ignorance of a time-table of evolution. What I mean is … we have a real good idea, damn near down to day, mankind took from discovering fire to putting a man on the moon. We just assume the evolution process of machines to mirror ours. What if a 1000 year era in humankind development was a mere 10 seconds of our super-intelligence software. Mankind could quickly be eclipsed by their own technology.
Global Warming despite Republicans’ denial, is the one most urgent problems facing mankind as a whole. Wars can effect 99% of the population but weather affects 100% of every living thing, animal and vegetable.
I won’t go into great detail here, as you could write a 100 books on the subject, but to say … look at the weather. The world has just experienced hurricanes with such fury as they have wiped out complete civilizations’ habitats that have withstood hurricanes for 100’s of years. In spite of advanced building methods and increased awareness, entire islands were decimated.
Our own country, Miami, is being pulled into the ocean by rising sea levels. These recent events, although tragic, should be an alarm signaling the need to address the issues involving global warming, but alas, all we hear is there’s not quite enough evidence to say global warming is a fact. Perhaps when politicians in Washington D.C. must travel to and from the capital by boat, they may say there’s enough evidence we have a problem.
What infuriates me the most is we have no control over our lives when discussing the big issues. Oh, we can vote different people into office … bullshit! It makes no difference who goes there. They are immediately swallowed up by greed and power leaving any concern, if there was any to begin with, for the little guy. You & me.
We must take matters into our own hands in order to protect our families. That means learning every survival trick possible. Learning how to produce power from nature, hunting, purifying water, etc. etc. And yes, protecting our families from our fellow mankind. Harsh to say, but I’d rather be an owl and over protect, than an ostrich with my head in the sand and my bare ass exposed.
Glad That Ain’t Me – Today’s Politician
It’s understandable, it’s a normal mental attitude that “It can’t happen to me.” But it can happen to anyone, yes including you. A wrong turn, a freak late spring snow storm erupts, the truck breaks down and we’re forced to walk miles in unfamiliar environment. There’s a multitude of reasons we could find ourselves suddenly lost, and terrified whether we want to admit it or not.
Now the question is … What to do now?
Most anyone can survive a night or two in the woods, unless the weather turns crazy, below freezing temperatures and feet of heavy snow, but surviving for an extended period of time takes a whole lot of thinking and skills.
This first rule is “Don’t Panic.” It’s more important than ever to keep your wits about you, think about the situation and develop a plan to deal with it. Any rash or hasty action could make a bad situation … worse, much worse.
This is where we back up in time to before the incident happened. We’ll call this segment, preparing to survive. Survival, and the degree of discomfort you may endure, begins before you ever go into the woods.
You watch television shows where people are dropped into hostile territory with nothing, sometimes not even clothes, and they survive reasonably well. For starters, these situations are fabricated and under close scrutiny of medical professionals. Additionally, most of these people are professional survivalist, experts in the art of subsistence living. We do not fall into that category. At least I don’t.
The first thing everyone needs to do is have a survival kit in the car. This is a very easy and inexpensive item to put together and if you think about it, it’s stupid to not have one in every vehicle. Whether you’re stuck in the woods or stuck in a ditch a few miles from home, I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.
The kit, or bag, is simple. It’ll include such items as a fire-starter (much more reliable than matches or a lighter) water purifiers, an emergency blanket, a few hand tools, knife, perhaps a few energy bars and a bottle of water or two. Starting on any trip without a kit is asking for trouble, especially as easy and cheap as it is.
The next big thing to do is tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Most people won’t think of this and others refuse to do it because they are adults and answer to no one. That’s dumb. Letting someone know your where bouts doesn’t mean you’re not an adult … just the opposite. Then if you fail to return, the concerned person can let the proper authorities know of your intended actions and approximate location. Think that’s silly? Which is better … searching a 10,000 acre National Forest for you or not knowing what state to start looking.
By the way, don’t count on your cell phone to locate you. Most rugged areas have no cell reception, batteries go dead and phones fall into water or down 100 foot cliffs.
Let’s get serious now:
The first thing to do, after accepting the fact you are indeed lost, is to stop and think. Ever forgot where you laid your keys? Everyone has and it’s not because we’re stupid or getting senile, we are so preoccupied with everything going on in our lives we often act without thinking. You may amaze yourself at what you can figure out if you stop and think. Besides, running off and taking action, usually wrong, but seems right at the time, wastes valuable energy which you very well may need to survive. Ask yourself these questions:
Where do I think I am? Have I been in this area before, maybe only once, or not at all.
What do I have with me? Hopefully a survival kit. If not take stock. Can of soda, light coat, bag of potato chips.
What’s available around me? Lots of dead tree branches for fire or making a shelter.
What’s the weather like? It’s going to snow, gotta find shelter.
How long until they realize I’m lost? Told them I’d be gone for 4 days … must survive at least 5 days, probably more.
What kind of condition am I in? Injured … not injured.
First Big No – No.
In some areas in America you can travel for days and never see any sign of civilization.
The last thing you want to do is make your situation worse. If you aren’t sure where you are and absolutely sure of which direction civilization is located, stay put. Any additional travel could take you deeper into the woods or worse.
Rescue teams search areas for lost people in a plotted search diagram. They divide the area map into quadrants, search one area fully, mark that area off, and move onto the next area. If you are stumbling around lost you could end up going from the next quadrant to search to the area they just deemed clear. Rescuers do not back track into finished areas without a specific reason. You could have just killed yourself.
Next, minimize your most likely danger. Hypothermia. “But it’s 85 degrees!” Ironically several people die of hypothermia every summer in the Colorado Rockies. They’re normally fishing or hiking, fall into a stream late in the day and aren’t able to make it back to their car before the sun sets. Temperatures can easily drop to the 40’s in higher elevations and that is low enough, combined with wet clothing, to kill you.
Shelter and fire first. You know, for all practical purposes, you’ll be stranded for at least 5 days, therefore shelter from the elements is a requirement. If you have a vehicle, say you broke down in the middle of no where, Stay with that vehicle. It provides excellent shelter, plus is a beacon to anyone in the air searching for you.
No vehicle. You’ll have to find or build a shelter. When searching the area for shelter be sure to clearly mark your path by piling rocks, breaking branches, something easily identified in order to return to the original spot. You don’t want to get lost from the point you were lost. (Makes sense?)
A cave is an ideal shelter. However, caves in the wilderness are seldom vacant. Bears, mountain lions and other creatures tend to enjoy the protection of a cave as much as humans do. Be very careful entering a cave and scour the area for any sign of recent activity. Fresh waste, pieces of fresh meals, vegetation such as berries are all signs to vacate the premises while you can. Even in smaller caves or cliff overhangs be particularly vigilant of snakes.
No caves. Maybe a good thing. Now you must build a shelter. However, that’s an area for another post. In the meantime, look for a large pine tree. The limbs of the tree will extend to the ground helping ward off rain and wind. Once you navigate your way through the thicket of limbs the area next to the tree trunk will be open and even provide a bed of needles to sleep on.
Starting a fire is the next step, which solves 2 major issues. It will keep you warm. Conserving energy is of the utmost importance in prolonging survival and the energy the body uses shivering to keep warm is wasted energy if it’s not necessary. The warmth of the fire eliminates this waste. Secondly, a fire will deter a wild animal from becoming too nosy. Animals by nature are usually repelled by the scent of humans, but there’s always that exception to the rule possibility. You don’t need any further complications in your otherwise awful day.
Use common sense when choosing the area to start a fire. Yes it’d be nice to have it close to your bedding, but that might be impossible. Clear the area of any flammable material, dried pine needles, leaves, etc. Pile rocks around the perimeter of the fire pit in order to contain the sparks and prevent logs from rolling out of the pit. Look up. Is there low lying tree limbs above the fire pit that could easily catch fire from floating embers? You want a fire for warmth and protection, not for burning the woods down.
Shelter and fire obtained the next issue is water. If you have a vehicle for shelter and a case of bottled water in the back seat … you’re ready to go. If not, look for water.
Water will always adhere to gravity and will travel downhill. Walk down hill in a slightly meandering method, being sure to leave a trail to find your way back. Watch for animal trails, they’ll likely lead to water, as observing the flight patterns of birds, and lastly use your ears. You may hear the sound of trickling water and not be able to see it.
The key to getting rescued, beyond surviving, is being found. You want to make yourself as visible to the world as possible. Searchers are experts in spotting things in the environment that don’t belong. You don’t belong and don’t want to belong, so make yourself visible.
If you have a vehicle .. stay at it. It’s a big target and definitely does not belong in that gully.
Start a smokey fire. Once smoke rises about the forest canopy it can be seen for miles. For general knowledge, three (3) fires set in a line is an international signal of distress.
Mirrors or anything reflective can be used to signal a plane or helicopter flying overhead. No, it’s not like the movies where you shine the light directly into the pilot’s eyes, blinding him from checking out the stewardess. Again, Pilots are trained to spot anything out of the ordinary and a flashing light emitting from the ground is not ordinary.
There will be people on the ground searching for you. Visibility in the woods is restricted. Ask any avid hunter if a deer ever walked right past them within 10 yards and you’ll get a “Yep,” for an answer. Sound on the other hand travels farther in the woods than sight. If you have a whistle, blow it every 5 minutes or so. Sound in the woods is strange. The rescuers may hear your whistle, but you won’t be able to hear their calls back. So don’t give up.
No whistle. Try hollering, beating on something with a stick, anything you can do to draw attention. After all, what else do you have to do?
Remember … you are responsible for aiding in your rescue. Making yourself as visible or loud will only increase your chances of rescue.
Check out other posts for more detailed survival tips.