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Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

say hello to my little friend...

User ID: 1506448
United States
08/15/2011 05:13 PM

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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
My heart goes out to all parents, if you have the thoughts i have in regards to an event like a financial collapse, then you know what i've been thinking. My children are 12 and 5, and i am scared to death to think about them going without meals, medicine, or just a normal structured life.

I'm sure alot of us will be able to get by without starving to death, if the doom comes, and it may very well build some character that maybe we have lost over the generations. But it will not be in any way fun, and we will lose some of our loved ones, but we as a nation can rise from the rubble, and stand proud once again.
 Quoting: m/walk

i am so glad i never brought any children into this world i have just a few cats and that will be enough to handle.

i have 100 lbs of dry food for them and 250 lbs of litter so i'm good.
Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living. ~

Life is about choices, you get to make them each and every day of your life. ~

Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.~

Only in America... do we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poloi' in Greek meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.~

“When a government is dependent for money upon the bankers, they and not the government leaders control the nation. This is because the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Financiers are without patriotism and without decency.”
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/15/2011 07:23 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Watching for health issues

In a SHTF scenario, medical issues arise that do not normally occur or that happen in ways that are more intense than normal, or they begin normally but then have a high likelihood of spinning out of control.

They are divided into intensity levels. Things in the lowest category can ratchet up or down based upon your actions or inaction as a leader. People do not know basic first aid like they did on the prairie. There they needed to be to handle these things since a doctor might live somewhere, but might be tens of miles away.

None of the following is medical advice. You should educate yourself with books like “When there is no doctor” at the link provided earlier. In addition, you should take a free or minimally expensive first aid class. At least one person on your team should know first aid in an in-depth manner, but everyone should be to handle basic things. A young calm teen can respond in simple ways that may greatly increase survivability. So can you, it's simply a training and planning issue.

There is a far cry between being a prepper and bugging in with lots of stockpiled medical materials, and bugging out with a 72 hour portable kit. This article deals with the worst case but survivable scenario of a 72 hour kit as detailed earlier, and coping with likely medical issues.

Headache: A headache is a symptom of something else. A headache can be nothing more than stress related. It also could be a sign of declining nutrition, a head injury, an issue with menstruation, a migraine, an infection of nearby nerves, dehydration, oncoming stoke, etc.

Diarrhea: stress, bad water, poor nutrition, an infection, dehydration, disease

Constipation: the person may not be eating enough roughage as there are few options. They may reduce going to the bathroom since it is less convenient (common in older folks and kids). Walking around a lot, and a good strong cup of coffee does wonders.

Vomiting can be a symptom of stress, dehydration, food poisoning, a twisted bit of bowel. People can rapidly decline if they cannot keep things down and dehydration progresses. Staying still, lying reclined a little, but not flat, eating sensibly in small portions, reframing what is food, etc will help.

Urinary tract infections. Terribly painful. Little can be done. Prevention is best from creating a proper privy not squatting. More common in women. Children need to be reminded about proper toilet hygiene as it is more difficult in the wilderness. It can spread from the bladder to the kidneys and become serious. If you are prone to them, it is likely that a partner has been colonized by bacteria, or it's a hygiene issue. Having Septra on hand would be wise. You can't take it if pregnant. Plain yogurt has healthy bacteria which can overcome the unhealthy kinds to eventually treat the issue. Of course, not possible for bugging out. The incident rate for a UTI is very high. Having cranberry capsules and pretreating is better than having it happen.

Elevated temperature: an infection, stress, serious illness. Low temperatures are usually viral. High temperatures are usually bacterial. You can do very little for viral infections. You don't have antibiotics for bacteria infections. A parasite can cause a rise in temperature, but unless you see visible signs, which is not likely except in fecal matter, it is difficult to determine without a specific blood test. Even that can take days. Usually these are looking for the presence of a specific immunological enzyme or agent.

A really high temperature should immediately be treated by cooling as fast as possible within reason. It will be uncomfortable to do this, as immersion is the best way, and the sudden temperature change causes chills and the person might very well be delirious. At home you give medicines to reduce fever. They should be in you medical kit, and if they get the least bit high, find a running source of water to immediately treat it. Aspirin works well, but cannot be given to children. Tylenol is good, but should not be used by the elderly. It is hard on the body. Expired acetaminophen (Tylenol) is poisonous. Alleve works well, but in high amounts causes stomach bleeding. Nothing is perfect.

Having grapefruit seed extract (in the event that you are not already on medications that interact with it) would be helpful. Grapefruit seed extract is a powerful way to prevent infections or treat them. It should be considered as a treatment with UTIs.

Heat exhaustion: Someone gets dehydrated. The body cannot cool itself without sweat. They will vomit , get light headed, or cramp. They may collapse. Lie them down, cut cool bandanas on their body to lower their temperature. Raise their feet. Most of the blood pools in the legs. When we stand suddenly, we see a drop in blood pressure as the blood falls to our legs. They are having issues with consciousness, as the body attempts to control blood pressure to deal with the crisis. Have them take sips of water as large amounts will perpetuate vomiting.

A distinct wound infection. Many of these create pus. Pus is the combination of white blood cells that have died and debris of the killed cause of the infection. The body send a series of warrior cells to attack with multiple tactics. They have a short life span. A debilitated person will have a lower white blood cell count and hence will have difficulty fighting infection.

Any that you spot are most likely Staph or Strep infections. Most of these are prevented by cleanliness, a real issue in the wilderness as you are working under less than optimum conditions, constantly touching your face and extremities. Parts of the body are natural places for Staph and Strep to live. The most common is the nose, as any teenager has discovered. A pimple is an infection of Staph or Strep that goes interior and is generally harmless. In the wilderness, a pimple can become a funracle or carbuncle which is a serious boil. It is full of pus. Ordinarily this is lanced under very hygienic conditions under medical supervision. The reason for this is simple. It is in the danger zone of the face. It is called that since lancing it may introduce the bacteria deeper into the bony tissue of the skull, and crossover into the brain. These must be taken seriously.

Boils can easily happen in various sizes based upon constantly check for them, cleanliness, and treatment. The smallest wound by a sliver of wood, causes the warrior cells to attack. If the sliver is not pulled out, cleaned, and dressed, it can become red, swollen, and attacked by white blood cells, form pus, and a serious infection from the most basic splinter can occur. Boils can easily happen on the buttocks in the wilderness from la lack of bathing, lack of clean clothing, and sitting/sleeping on the ground.

A foot injury can severely reduce the group's progress. A boil on the foot, a cut that is not allowed to heal, a laceration that is not sutured, a twisted ankle, a broken bone, all can impede the travel plans of the community.

As discussed earlier, washing is very hard to do adequately in the wild. I've also touched on massage(ad not doing it when a person had an infection) and checking people's skin, nails, colour, extremities for injury. It is a common sense thing to do once each day and night, with a rapid check. A person can do a rapid visual examination of their extremities in a few minutes while washing up. You'll do this for children as they are careless. You'll pull out any splinters, clean the area with some of that Dr. Bronner's concentrated soap (which is far superior a cleaning agent to a bar of soap), and apply a drop of tea tree oil as an antiseptic. If you were home, with lots of things like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and bandages then you would different things. Here, you're trying to cope as best as you can. Bandages do not stay in place when walking ten miles a day.

If a skin infection occurs, you're going to try to keep it clean. If it's bad, then you're going to hole up somewhere to treat it, based on your level of security, who is injured, and the availability of shelter and long term sustenance.

A twisted ankle can easily be treated with elevation, time, and an ACE bandage to support the torn ligaments. The ligaments heal slowly based on good diet but we alter our pain tolerance.

Vitamin C intake is crucial when in the wilderness. Pine needle tea taken regularly in small amounts, and field greens will give you Vitamin C. No wounds will heal without it, as it allows collagen to be manufactured by our bodies.

Malnutrition can cause a host of issues. Prevention with vitamin supplementation is the easier way to treat this. All people who live outdoors on a non-varied diet with minimal calories will get malnutrition. It is entirely preventable through supplements. They should be in your bug out bag.

The standard operating protocol is to find medical assistance when injured. That most likely will not be possible. There may be no organized medical assistance or it may be dangerous to knock door-to-door looking for help.

Heart attacks can happen. More than likely they are anxiety attacks. Breathing into a paper bag, lowers hyperventilation and causes relaxation as the air mix normalizes. Assume it is a heart attack in anyone with risk factors especially if they have run out of medication. A small dose of aspirin is always given to treat it. In the wild, there is little you can do realistically. A heart attack is generally a clot that block the flow of blood on the heart itself. These sometimes heal with scar tissue, but the person is diminished. Prevention by ratcheting up exercise, diet changes, and medication are the treatment methods. Even very young children in a Western society form plaque from our fatty diets, and their arteries show it.

Everyone should know the Heimlich maneuver for choking, and basic CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation. CPR has changed. Go learn the modified way. In a perfectly controlled medical environment with all the medicines and devices, CPR has a surprisingly low effectiveness rate. It rarely will save lives, but must always be attempted. Miracles happen.

Burns happen easily and are preventible. The main thing is treat them right away to reduce the heat, so cold water is best. Help them by doing their chores if you can. The skin is literally armor at the outermost layer of the epidermis. It prevents most infections from happening. If a burn goes deeper, it may hurt less, but cause severe skin infections. The person is unable to control their body temperature. It is a bad death.

A sprain in the arm can be treated with several bandannas to support the arm. There are a million useful things you can do with a bandana. Placed on the forehead, it can collect sweat, cool the body, and prevent heat exhaustion.

Most injuries and many infections are caused by a lack of common sense. Many times simply cooking things thoroughly and hygienically will prevent an issue from arising. Keep your feet as dry and clean as possible.

Snake bite is a possibility as are spider bites. Snakes will generally make their presence known. The main thing is to become aware of your brother and sister creatures, and use care in meeting them. As discussed, a snake makes fine eating, is easily controlled with common sense and a forked stick and knife, and is not difficult to handle. You may see a clutch of snakes. They may do this when newly hatched, or they may be making out! A little common sense goes a long way to handle them. They will sense your heavy foot strikes before they see you. They usually bite out of self-preservation. A snake will not generally crawl into a tent, but I have seen it happen. Zip the darn thing up!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
United States
08/15/2011 10:47 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Since we're talking about buggin' out, here's an old hobo song, the original adventurers who traveled across the lands to see America.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
United States
08/15/2011 11:36 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Relief Maps
Despite all our best plans, we should always have an excellent map in order to extricate ourselves, as well as know the surrounding terrain, sources of water, and potential hiding places. An excellent map of your surrounding ten mile area might be very useful for neighborhood defense and developing a tactical plan.

Many people purchase road atlases, or they rely on Google maps. The former map be of very limited information since it is primarily concerned with roads, which may be dangerous to travel on. The later will most certainly be unavailable as the Internet becomes restricted to reduce load in an unstable situation as well restrict communication.

The very best maps for going cross country are relief maps. Topographical maps are common, and not bad to read, but relief maps are made to graphically represent in 3-D the terrain.
[link to birrell.org] These are separated out by area and scale. These are only examples as they do not give you enough detail to be useful.

[link to www.worldmapsonline.com]
Here is a relief map of the state of Maine. It would extremely useful to have if you were going there, or lived there as each pass, or valley, or water source is clearly labeled. Compare that with an interpreting a topo map and making a quick decision about an alternative route. The relief map is 10x better.

A pretty good and free alternative is [link to www.maps-for-free.com]
It overlays information on a google map area, and you select what you wish to display. Like everything in this world, you get what you pay for. There may be map servers in your state, that have web presences. These will allow you some free mapping, but not at levels good enough for printing. That's what you'll need a map you are carrying, preferably two copies, in case one gets wet and damaged.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
United States
08/15/2011 11:59 PM
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For getting an overview, particularly of a neighborhood, you can download Google Earth for free, label things appropriately and cut and paste them into what ever graphics or word processing program. Now you can clearly label various terrain points like potential water sources near your home, all the routes that you might take, the approach to the neighborhood through various entrances. Since it's to scale, you can determine things like how wide is that entrance.

So if the water went out, and you had to harvest from local lakes, you'd know and be able to show people which way they should take, and then they'd report back if that route was safe or if they had trouble going that way. Since you might be traveling cross country, neighbors might live on that route, and not appreciate a lot strange people walking. All of these things need to negotiated. Maybe they grant access, and you gather some water for them. That's a fair trade.

If things got hairy and you needed to protect the neighborhood in a Katrina like incident or rioting, then you'd be way ahead of the curve if you had printout to show what was immediately around you.

These are overhead shots in Google Earth, not true representations sometimes since the satellite photos were taken at time which may show things that no longer look that way.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1481399
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08/16/2011 12:21 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Carrying capacity

Carrying capacity is the maximum amount of a species that can indefinitely live within an area. In this case, humans are the keystone species, at the apex ordinarily of its niche.

We live in a civilized world, often urban, in very high concentrations that ignore carrying capacity. Why? Because all of the materials, food, water, medicines, etc are shipped in.

How is this possible? Specialization. Your personal skill sets add to the collective, and generate fiat money which is then exchanged for goods and services.

Without constant trucking in of supplies, most groceries have three day inventories under ordinary store traffic and normal purchasing.

Without an influx of supplies, residents would depend upon the ordinary carrying capacity of water, lumber, food items such as they naturally found within the localized area of your city. Even those must be distributed in some fashion.

Certain people within the community will have certain skill sets that will be of limited value within a SHTF scenario. They will be unable to generate needed items, not only to take care of themselves, but to barter for other needed items outside of their personal needs.

Hunting, trapping, and fishing is not at all like our ancestors would have experienced. There are not abundant species of animals to procure, other than perhaps initially pets...a gruesome concept.

Even if one had the ability, the idea of suddenly even small numbers of hunter-gatherers harvesting from local wildlife areas would strip out species of varying ages and no doubt dooming future generations of animals. Plants too.

Even still, the ability to properly take down, butcher in useful amounts meats, and then prepare them under hygienic amounts, and in sufficient caloric intake would be daunting. Spoilage would occur as meats without refrigeration would soon go bad, and without proper canning tools, or the ability to properly dehydrate meats, there most likely would be spikes in meat availability. What would you trade for access to food in the absence of money?

So you can see the issue of bugging out versus bugging in. Most of live in urban areas of such size and a lack of supplies could rapidly descend into anarchy. Citizens of large towns would probably decide en masse to relocate to smaller towns, with the perception that their money would procure goods and services there in that new locale.

How do you think that would play out?

Do a quick internet search of the sex offenders that are situated within a 5 mile radius of your home. Do another search of prisons. Consider the amount of ex-offenders also located within a 5 mile radius. Pretty scary, no?

Now is the time to plan what you would do if you had to leave. What route would you take? When would you leave? Where would you go? How much could you take with you? What would it be?

This has been discussed numerous times and scenarios analyzed. The general consensus is to go South for warmer climates and to smaller rural areas. I'll leave you to make your conclusions about that. I doubt that those folks will want an influx of visitors. Local weather patterns may influence your decisions too.

Other people have discussed Western areas and hence lower population density, higher availability of wildlife, and a higher than average survival mentality i.e. LDS folks. The availability of water sources is a chief concern.

There are more questions than answers on the subject. As any parents know, travel is extremely expensive. Friends and family may be willing to assist you in rural regions.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1496915

Everyone (including children) needs to be able to carry their own weight. LITERALLY
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
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08/16/2011 01:23 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Here's a very inexpensive way to recharge some AA batteries by using outdoor solar lights. You naturally can bring these in, and use them to light up some rooms though there is great variability in the amount of lumens produced.

Being able to charge some batteries might mean being able to have some way of listening to a radio, though of course a better way is to buy a dynamo powered radio/light set. They do make little dynamo flashlights to seeing your way in a dark house, but they're noisy and most likely your sleeping family members will hear them.

Pretty clever.

A dynamo/radio/light combination

They actually used to make these for 3rd world nations, and they were given away, but with the interest in "green" tech, it became more marketable in the USA.

There are lots of different kinds of dynamo flashlights. Here's one:
[link to www.google.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
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08/16/2011 01:30 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
One of the issues in home defense is penetration. When you shoot, a bullet could easily pass through walls and hurt loved ones. If you've been reading along, you'll remember that I suggested everyone sleeping in one central room, and then it's easier to watch over them, as well as only heat that one room to save firewood. With everyone in one place, you're less likely to cause an issue with bullet penetration. I'd recommend having a small cache of food there in case the "zombies" did manage to get inside your pantry, steal your supplies, and leave you very little.

Another important idea, for folks who've never thought about home defense is aiming at night. In the dark, it's very difficult to determine if you're sighted on the target. One thing you can do, is have your gun retrofitted with tritium night sights. I purchased a handgun that way eons ago.
[link to www.google.com] Here's one style just to show what they look like.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
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08/16/2011 12:15 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Alternative communication

There are many times you will need to communicate, but it's just not possible or frowned upon. It may be inappropriate to speak aloud, impossible by distance, imprudent to speak, dangerous, or impossible.

[link to www.freewebs.com]

I love to read. I always have. As an adolescent, I would often go to library, check out ten or more books, devour them, and return in a few days. Don't read good books, there isn't time. Read great ones.

While there one day, some librarian had hung up a fingerspelling chart for American Sign Language(ASL) . I'd read a book on codes using morse or writing with lemon juice or using symbol like hierogylphics or kanji, and I fascinated by non-verbal means of communication. I stuck around until I could replicate all of them, went and got my sister, and we both learned it in about an hour. Then we used it to talk sometimes for fun on long drives in the car, or simply as a game.

Because I'd practiced fingerspelling at age eleven, it unexpectedly prepared me for my first real summer camp at age 14. One of the young ladies named T_____ was deaf, and gorgeous. Only two other people could speak her language. Since I could speak in the “baby language of fingerspelling”, I could communicate albeit painfully slow. She was incredibly sweet, kind, and considerate, and drop dead gorgeous. Those are rare qualities, and were high motivators for me to learn more.

We wrote each other. I encouraged her to come back to camp. I purchased a book on ASL in the meantime, and learned the entire book by practicing and holding up signs in the mirror. My sister was minimally interested, so she learned some, and decided to come to camp too. T decided to come to camp again, and brought another of her deaf friends. Her brother translated everything for them, but still few people at first could communicate. They did see we had minimal trouble, so a few there asked out of curiosity, and we taught them. By the end of the camp week, almost everyone (more than forty kids and adults) could fingerspell, and some could speak in rudimentary sign words.

A few years later when I was a young man, I had a beautiful girlfriend, and I'd sit next to her in church, and we were so absorbed in each other, that while we were supposed to be listening to the sermon, we'd make fingerspelling signs with our hands surreptitiously. It made us closer.

Several charts are at the website above, one of which is fingerspelling. It is painfully slow. The easiest thing to do is practice each of the individual fingerspelling hand positions, then do them randomly with the other person guessing them, then spell small words, and so on. In many cases people will guess the word as you are spelling it, so you need not spell the whole word.

If you got a book on ASL, then you could silently communicate with the people in your group, and depending on the hand movements, communicate over a distance. The military uses this process:
[link to www.specialoperations.com]

A universal sign of distress is an upside down flag. A white flag hung up is a universal sign for distress too. A black flag hung up is a universal sign of disease present. Such things could be used in a pandemic to alert medical personnel.

The spectrum
All energy vibrates at certain oscillations. Some of it is visible, and we see this as white light and color. Other is invisible to our eyes as the rods and cones that make up the color and black/white optical receivers cannot see those frequencies. Other frequencies can be picked up by specially constructed electronics called receivers. Other devices can transmit those frequencies and receive them too. This allows AM, FM, shortwave, VHF, UHF, and other frequencies to transmit over great distances.

Wireless communication

People do not realize this, but communication often occurs on narrow bands of the spectrum and on not many frequency choices. The early wireless telephones were like this, and anyone with a special radio scanner could listen in on conversations. Even cell phone communications could be picked up this way. Journalists listened in on many celebrity communications, and picked up information, which they then published.

Even to this day, many frequencies on baby monitors, wireless video cameras, some cordless telephones and cell phones can be easily picked up depending upon the technical expertise of electronics enthusiasts. In a SHTF scenario, you should take this to heart. Any communication might be intercepted.

Here's a comprehensive list of frequencies that are used and in what capacity:
[link to www.radioreference.com]
If you know the ones that are most likely to help you in a bug in or bug out situation, then you'll save time gathering information.

Local radio/HAM enthusiasts will often meet in your area. In the event of a pandemic or a SHTF scenario, they might be the best means of transmitting information across distances, and allowing the flow of information. It could then be relayed to progressive further distances. They usually publish the frequencies that are used locally by emergency responders. Such folks have special codes to describe situations. This gives some privacy as it takes a little time to know what that code means. If you knew the code, and things were degenerating, then you would be alerted before the rest of the people.
[link to www.radiolabs.com]

Because things could break down, the medium of the Internet, radio, or television could break down, even if power was still operating. Prior to the Internet, there were ways of communicating like the Internet, they were just simpler means to transmit that information. Such ways might be used to communicate to people, but would be extremely slow compared to the normal Internet since they'd be relayed.

One such alternative is packet radio: [link to www.tapr.org]

Another weblink which descibes alternatives: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/16/2011 01:39 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
How to communicate with the Source

In a SHTF scenario, there is an immediate sense of isolation. We feel cut-off. We might be cut-off from food, supplies, medicine, utilities, EMS personnel and protectors, and social groups we attend. The communication we have with our friends and family that live within our household or neighborhood will be crucial at those times.

You might be cut-off even more, as a situation degenerates in anarchy. If so, you can blithely sit back and let the chips fall where they may, or you can do something to make the situation better, even if it seems pointless or minimal.

I think, and this is a very mystical way of thinking, that we do communicate with something greater than ourselves. I call that the Source. People have been writing about that in many tongues, and in many modalities. Lao Tzu wrote about it in the sixth century BCE.
[link to classics.mit.edu]

I am not a Taoist, but there is great insight into the Source found there. NONE of us have all the answers, but some of us see glimmers. Someone may hunger for spiritual knowledge and write about it imperfectly because we are imperfect beings.

Just because I profess one belief system, I think that it is wrong to impress that on another. I am not someone who believes that all spiritual communication is equal. That results in an insipid blend, and any good cook knows mixing all the spices in a meal will taste revolting.

There are many ways to communicate with the Source. Some people have made categories, and they almost always include these: adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, petition, and corporate worship. These can be silent, words spoken inwardly, words spoken outwardly, or sung. In the highest level of communication with the Source, they may take the forms of dance, affection, kindness, and ultimately goodness. Keep communicating like that, and it will alter the Way of your journey.

Only use words if you must. Actions speak louder than words. The sum of your life is the great communication to the Source

Kemper Crabb said in a song, “The rhythm the rhyme the reason of the Dance pulses within everything.” [link to www.youtube.com] He is genius, a mystic, a Bodhisattva, a good man.

Adoration is basking in the glory of the Source silently. It is often felt in that moment when we really perceive something vast, and that can be a river gorge in Autumn, or a small ladybug crawling onto our foot, or in the sweet hug of acceptance when we do not deserve it. At those times we become cosmicly and irrevocably aware of the Source. Sometimes when people have an epiphany, they encounter the Source and yield to it.

Praise is not asking for the Source to do something for you. You offer complements to the Source freely and willingly. You see the greatness, majesty, magnanimous nature, magnificence of the Source.

Sitting down before hand and listing all of your blessings and then praising the Source for those blessings make you a better person. Having a grateful heart never diminishes you. It doesn't expend you. Some people are not very generous in their praise, almost as if they are afraid it will be used up from a dwindling supply. This type of praise is thanksgiving. Many people are most hurt when they give something to another at great cost, and then not thanked. We are constantly blessed but get busy and forget to thank the Source.

Penitence are moments with the Source when we list the times we fell short of the goal: we failed the Source. Sometimes those actions can be things that were wrong. Sometimes they are times we acted in evil ways. Listing them before hand in an intentional way will surprise you as to the extent of them. They can be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Saying them to the Source and asking forgiveness and direction will put you back on a straighter Way. They can become burdens we will not let go of, and then weigh us down forever or become enormous chains dragging us down.

Look up “cast in irons”. It was a horrific punishment of an enormous weight of iron chain, that caused difficulty in doing almost everything, choked the person, and made them bleed. Many of us are like that, and can not on our own remove them. Take the chains off of anyone you can.

Oblation is a word many people have never heard of. It is the act of offering something to the Source. You search your heart for some way to give back through a donation or sacrifice or time, talent, and treasure. This is very hard for selfish people. Some people perceive that there are limited resources, and any subtraction from their pile of stuff, will make them less powerful.

Intercession is a prayer in which we communicate with the Source for other people. It is inherently unselfish. When people share their failings or illnesses or private matters, and trust us with their burdens, we quietly and sensitively communicate that to the Source. We do not tell the Source what to do. The Source knows what to do. We ask the Source to please do something to help them. There are many stories where the Source altered their plans through the intercession of one voice. The startling fact of that is like plunging into an icy lake. It is incomprehensible.

Petition is 99.9% of most prayer. It is me-driven. It is asking the Source to do something for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that. How we ask, what we ask, when we ask, why we ask though is often selfish and asked incorrectly and asked too often. The communication you have with the Source should be balanced. You are one person in a world of billions. Maybe you should take that to heart rather than focusing all your communication in one modality.

Corporate prayer is doing all of the above with other people. It is empowering. It is heart-rendering. It is fulfilling.

That communication, especially for intercession, should only be used if the person who communicated the burden wishes for it. Many times those burdens are very intimate. I have seen well meaning folks pray aloud and embarrass the suffering person, and heightening their misery. Be sensitive.

Do not heap heavy burdens on each other and break the backs of the community. Carry each other's burdens. They will do that for you when you need them to. That is real community.

We do not communicate with the Source to give them information. The Source knows it. We do it to make ourselves more intimate with the Source.

Let's say that you have an okay relationship with your lover, friend, or child. If you never communicate with them, maintain a distance, rarely offer an encouraging word, never do anything for them, what do you think will happen? The level of trust, intimacy, friendship, affection: all will diminish. They might know what you think, but somehow the words and actions that we share are important to communicate what we feel.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Coal

A wise mentor once told me this story. Some wise mentor told it to him. I hope you tell it to someone else. The story always changes a little. That is a good thing.

There was a man who had many things. He was well liked by the world since he was intelligent, eloquent, wealthy, handsome, and the world likes those things. He became popular. People asked him to be on committees. He spoke at meetings. He thought about running for office. The people asked him to do it.

He felt strange though. He'd invested a lot of time seeking the praise of the people. He was gone a lot. His kids grew older. His wife was lonely. His home life suffered.

He had little time to do anything for himself. He didn't have time to exercise. He stopped camping or taking walks or sitting in quiet contemplation.

He stopped talking to the Source. He couldn't find the time to do it. He couldn't attend public gatherings about the Source since he was always traveling to speak to the people.

He could feel himself growing cold and alone. He didn't understand why. He was always around people. It was a mystery to him.

He had an old mentor. He sincerely loved the man. He was wise, but not preachy. It seemed like he knew everything. He'd been busy, and had stopped dropping in, simply visiting for no other reason than to see each other. There hadn't been time.

The mentor called him, to see how he was doing, what was going on, how he was feeling.

The man clutched the phone eagerly. He was so happy to hear from him. He spoke for awhile, a long time really, in a flurry of words. The mentor asked him to visit him personally.

The man hesitated, but he felt so cold, that he thought it might lift his spirits, so he made the time. He penciled it into his calendar. He stared at it the entry. It made him sad that the entry was the only bright moment in his week.

The man arrived at his mentor's home. His mentor's wife hugged him, so glad to see him. She told him to go back to the family room. His mentor was there.

In the back, the mentor was smiling. He didn't say a word, but shook his hand and hugged him. It was cold in the room, very chilly, and the man could see his breath.

“Why is the house so cold?”, the man asked. “It's freezing in here”. The man chattered his teeth.

The mentor said nothing. He motioned for the man to sit, and started to build a fire. He started small, put the tinder in a tiny pile, struck a match, and lit it, and coaxed it into flame. He added sticks, and the caught, and the fire grew.

The man wondered why his mentor was silent. He watched quietly. He stared at his watch. He couldn't stay long. He needed to leave soon. He'd be late for a meeting. He tapped his foot. He began to grow impatient.

The mentor smiles at him. He nodded and winked his merry eyes. The man so hungry for friendship was grateful, but mystified at this meeting.

The mentor took his poker, and flicked out a coal. He did it deliberately, separating the coal from the rest of the fire. The coal burned for a time, it had been white hot, then red, then grew dim, then extinguished into a piece of black wood, incompletely burned.

The man stared at the coal. Fire was fascinating to watch for him. It had been a long time since he'd built his own fire. He watch the coal go out. He looked at his mentor, and the mentor nodded his head. A tear dropped from his mentor's eyes.

He hugged his mentor. He'd woken up. He said nothing, but stared into his mentor's eyes, and his eyes grew wet with his own tears. He left thanking him.

On his journey home, he thought about how the coal was like himself. He'd been expending all of his energy, sending it out, but in a futile attempt. The rest of the things which fed his own self, the bulk of the fire, the friends and family that sustained him, the Source that watched over him, the gathering of believers of the Source that renewed him, all had been forgotten.

He knew what he had to do.
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Staying Warm

I've mentioned many tips for staying warm, but in many different post. This post will be as comprehensive as possible detailing how to stay warm when it begins to get cold, stays cold, and then begins to warm back up.

The dance of the universe
Once, such a great amount of time that it cannot be fathomed, more than millennial, the stars grew, changed, went through cycles, and died. In the interiors of the stars, all of the elements of the periodic table are created. Those elements in combinations created compounds, complex molecules, and life itself, bound by energy. All things are made of star stuff.

All matter dances, spinning yet bound, in combinations with energy. If we probe yet deeper, electrons move in clouds of random movements encircling protons and neutrons in yet another dance.

The burning of wood converts the energy and compounds within to release energy. It is deeply mystical, not just commonplace. This is the beginning of wisdom.

How do forests happen?

A gazillion years ago, there was rock. Water fell and collected. Some of it broke the rock. Some simple plants grew that could live on rocky places. They broke down the rock more and died. They decayed and their actions created soil. Other plants grew taller than need soil. They died and added to the richness of the soil. These created niches that small cell life could live in, protists, and they all added to debris that allowed even stronger plant life to grow. Lichens and mosses grew taller. Seed bearing plants grew, first as brush or bush, then taller yet. Plants like crowns of sumacs spread runners and broke the spoil, preparing it for conifers. Confers thrived, created new niches and broken the soil more. Larger deciduous trees grew, and outgrew the conifers since they could thrive in warmer climates.

A forest evolves slowly over many thousands of years. If you could watch it all, you'd see waves of plants change the landscape, and waves of them growing and competing for the same light, water, soil, and humus.

[link to www.daviddarling.info]
The list above details the amount of energy that is trapped within the wood. As you'll see, the amount of BTUs that radiate their energy is higher for deciduous woods than conifers in general. The trees convert the energy they consume into biomass that can release that energy again.

Those who live in colder climates will have great difficulty if things become dire. Because they generally have shorter growing seasons, the trees that provide firewood tend to be conifers. People who have very low levels of identification skills sometimes just call them pine trees. The environment of cooler regions is more favorable to the conifers, and hence they make up the bulk.


We cannot control our temperatures very well. We do not have fur like Brother Bear. We cannot dive deep to live beyond the icy waters in suspended animation like Sister Cod. We use whatever we have at hand to control our environment, adjust our mental outlook, and adapt to live in a narrow range of temperatures. It is analogous to the narrow band of the entire spectrum that we can see.


The more we insulate ourselves, the more we become like Brother Bear. That insulation can be fat, which both insulates and nourishes, or it can be fur by wearing layers. The air spaces between also act as insulation.

If you do not have insulation, or wear one layer, your body will shiver to create random motions which generate heat. If you don't stop, you'll burn up calories to do this, and it become self defeating. It become terribly hard to control your hand movements. You could freeze to death, as the body shunts blood to your core, and away from your extremities. The body sees a lack of control, and shuts down critical systems one by one, and consciousness fades. People become confused and stuporous. Death follows.

While babies have a special kind of temperature adaptation called brown adipose tissue, a kind of fat, they cannot communicate their uncomfortableness and simply cry. Children are often improperly taught how to dress since they don't stay outside very long. Hypothermia can kill children in temperatures as low as 50-60 degrees F.

The poor, uneducated,or simply obtuse people will allow their children to be ill clothed in some pretty criminal ways. I have spent a lifetime caring for children. I've have been astounded by this phenomena. It is one of the few things that can make me angry or sad that it happens.

Heat loss
Most heat is lost from bare skin and primarily from the head. It is folly not to wear a warm insulating cap. The body regulates heat through blood circulation. The extremities, most often the feet, grow numb since less blood circulation happens there, especially as we age. You can easily not notice that your feet are getting too cold, and get frostbite.

You can be trapped outside by circumstance in winter. You have to think long and hard if it is worthwhile to travel in it, if there is the slightest chance of being without shelter. There are many stories of families who were traveling, took a detour because of the snow, got stranded, and died.


Insulation is all around us for the taking. Newspapers can be shoved down in-between layers of clothing to cheaply add it. Leaves or grasses in the wild will do this. A debris hut, as I earlier included is full of warm insulation. Burrowing in is better that wasting heat in futile attempts to forage foolishly. You gather what you can, eat what you can from stored foods in wintertime. Waiting until winter to prepare is foolish. Very little can be gathered, and only by the smartest, most well prepared, and practiced hunter/gathers.


If you can, putting your woodpile inside to someplace like a garage, will really help you. Nothing is worse than trying to start a wet wood fire. It is miserable.

The amount of wood necessary to burn and release sufficient energy is proportional to the dimensions of the room(s) you are trying to heat. Heat rises and diffuses. A family adapting to sleeping in one room, that is well insulated in whatever manner you must do it, and only heating that room beyond 50-60 degrees, will keep everyone alive.

Something as cheap as heat shrink film can be purchased to cover windows. It takes a minimal amount of time to seal up the drafts coming in, but some drafts may help with fumes.

Seasoned wood is dried wood that has been exposed to the elements and allowed to remove moisture content. It takes time, and there is no hurrying it. You must prepare a woodpile slowly since it takes time to harvest a tree, cut it to manageable sizes for burning, stack it, and then harvest from it when ready.

Burning it wastefully early in the season when you do not know long the season will last, or how long a crisis will be, is folly. An acquaintance, one very intelligent lumberjack in Canada, told me a story once that he had burned up just about everything to stay warm one bad winter, and only barely made it. You could see the sincerity of his face when he told the story, and this is a man who makes his living understanding wood.

The amount of seasoned wood that is necessary depends upon the quality of the wood to produce BTUs and the method for releasing that energy.

A simple wood fireplace, of poor dimensions, will be horribly inefficient and produce minimal heat. There are numerous adaptations that have been created by many societies. Most of these require special construction or materials or time or engineering. All must have a means of evacuating and directing fumes which are chemical compounds released which do not support life. Carbon monoxide it the most worrisome one.

Hemoglogin is a special iron chemical compound that is present in blood. It grabs on to four oxygen molecules and carries it efficiently around the body. It is what gives red meat it's colouring. Unfortunately, it loves carbon monoxide (CO) MORE than oxygen. If CO is present, it grabs on tighter to the hemoglobin in the blood, and doesn't allow oxygen to travel efficiently, suffocation occurs, then death.

YOU MUST VENT PROPERLY! You cannot smell carbon monoxide. Crude quickly fashioned stoves killed lots of Native Americans, who understood fire well, but didn't understand drafting the fumes well. Many had crude stoves, and terrible weakness in winter. Missionaries would often provide stoves to them. Stove making without tools, materials, and engineering is difficult. It isn't impossible, but it is not a last minute operation either.

If you are blessed to have an efficient woodstove, or a rocket stove with venting or some other means then you have prepared well.

If everyone is living in a very close area, with poor carrying capacity, and using all the seasoned firewood for cooking, and it becomes stripped out in winter, YOU WILL DIE.

Many pioneers spent every available moment cutting firewood for the time of Winter. If you live in Montana or Maine, where the winters can be very long, you must spend a huge amount of time putting up wood for winter.

If you lived underground, deep enough that the Earth maintained a constant temperature, you'll need far less wood to burn.

There are lots of well meaning videos on emergency heat. Most are made for very short periods and only for cooking. Most are unrealistic, and rely upon chemicals (like alcohol) or propane or fuel which is not in abundance in a survival scenario except for very short periods of time. I have seen many videos which didn't discuss in any way venting properly, and hence using their advice could kill you.

A tactic in a siege is to block the vent of a wood stove. It is extremely hard to come up with solutions that do not require exiting. As such, the location of the stove, and it's venting, for security reasons, is a factor.

Burning too much conifer wood, or incomplete burning causes creosote to build up in the stove and venting. A whistling sound is heard as it catches fire, and creates a huge draft, that pulls oxygen to feed it, burning hotter and hotter, and a terrible fire could happen.
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Staying Warm continued

[link to journeytoforever.org]
Here's a method for generating heat indoors, mostly for cooking. It was developed for 3rd world nations, such that it would be pretty inexpensive to fabricate from local materials. It requires less venting, and has scientifically measured carbon monoxide (CO) levels. The trick is to cut off the air flow which starves the fire quickly, minimizing emissions like CO. Or, you allow the charcoal to burn completely and run out, which since it burns more efficiently than a normal wood stove, means less emissions. Make no mistake, I still would vent it. You could also (not advised) try to take it outside, but of course this risks fire. Not a great option.

A typical means of extending heat is having large black painted water barrels. They absorb any heat from the sun, and heat from the wood stove, and then slowly release the energy as heat. Note that this is very heavy and means putting the barrels on a very stout reinforced floor.

You could construct a solar air heater: [link to blog.hemmings.com]

Or you could make a solar sponge: [link to www.solarsponge.com]

Finally, besides wood, an excellent source of fuel for fire is dried cow dung. You'll laugh, but it doesn't smell. Maybe a little earthy. Cows are ruminants. They have four digestives areas in which they progressively pull out the nutritional elements of grasses and water, and progressively dry and eliminate it.

After seasoning the manure, it dries further, and can be collected, and if you ask farmers, they'll be happy for you to take it away.

It's easy to drive around in a pickup truck, and collect cow patties. I can hear the laughter. That is good. Laughter is healing and cleansing.

It burns hot and clean, with less ash, making a very fine fire.
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[link to bioenergylists.org]
Just to show you that it is a fairly efficient process.

She's mixing it hulls from spend grain. Rice hulls are often used. It's a pretty smart process, but personally, I think a waste of energy that could be spent in other ways. She's molding it using fresh dung which contains a lot of E coli bacteria. It is very dangerous, a small cut, which we have on our hands at all times, could introduce bacteria into our blood.

Natural drying is pretty simple from the fields and far safer. And they are HUGE!
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

The easiest means of hunting and fairly precise with common ammunition is the Slingshot. You will be surprised as they are perfectly legal, cheap to purchase, available at any Wallyworld, and require not special skill. Children can be put to work, and can take down a lot of game in a short amount of time.

Slingshots break, but usually from abuse or from heat (very likely) from eventual dry rot (somewhat likely). Mine lasted for a long time. It is wise to get backups and spare slingshots sections, and not hard to replace the band/leather section.

There are many videos which detail ways to improve the slingshot. Mostly the issues are with recoil and the flapping of the surgical tube on the skin. Jörg Sprave makes a lot of very interesting and powerful slingshots.

Long before the Discovery Channel hosted Dual Survival, Dave Canterbury created a youtube channel with very excellent survival videos. He has a very specially modified slingshot to fire arrows to hunt large game.

I highly recommend these channels. It could mean feeding your family.

The better slingshots that fire arrows will utilize a whisker bit. This makes the arrow rest very well and still, and allows for a smooth release. Dave has one video on making that style.

As anyone who's fired a lot of arrows can attest, the arrow fletching, which are the feathers or plastic pieces which help it spin (usually in threes) will often come off under heavy usage. One will be different, called the index fletch, and that one is generally the one that is horizontal with the ground when nocked.
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This act of communication with the Source is so important that I think it merits including this link:

[link to www.kingofpeace.org]

Every spiritual system has different ideas about what is sin or “missing the mark”. When benign, it is analogous to shoot an arrow and missing totally the bull's eye. It is similar to throwing a “brick” in basketball, a total flub. At it's worst, it can be base evil.

What I like about that self-examination pdf is that we are very apt to miss the sin in our own lives, but see every single miniscule one in others. Reading this, and talking with the Source, when you find one's you've forgotten to ask forgiveness for, well that's one less that you are carrying around. If you find there's one that is a real stumbling block, then you need to make a course correction, or better, look for a spiritual mentor.

If there's something in that pdf that you really disagree with, don't get hung up on it, just move on. People will argue about the smallest things in religion. Very few spiritual people do that, there's no time to waste on little things, and our own lives to save, and a world to assist.

Back to survival....
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When you're a leader, or a parent, or simply a good unselfish person, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. You need to do that. The people around you, they'll be scared and looking to you for answers and direction. The less you are prepared, the more time you'll spend inefficiently foraging, or reading to play catch up, leaving you zero time for self-care.

Those other people, may need a little help in seeing that you have your own struggles. You'll have to tell them, as worried people turn inward, and become less aware, which is counter-intuitive. The more someone worries about food, they less aware they are about seeing trail sign, animals hiding, plants that they might gather, and overlooked water sources.

If you've been reading along, I wrote a section on affection. Many people don't know how to give affection. It's a skill like any other. People who were raised with little affection, whether they are hungry for it or not, tend to do the same things their parents did. They also hate themselves when they see that behaviour as it is ugly to them. Then they feel guilt, so it takes a little work to overcome it.

You'll need to educate people if you need affection. If you've been giving it all along, then it's far easier to motivate them to give more.

Complaining and saying, “I'm so horny, and you never give the time of day.”, well that never helped anyone. It makes you appear selfish, and saying, “Never” is seldom true, so to that person, it means your first statement isn't true either. Does that makes sense?

Saying, “You are beautiful, and take my breath away, and I feel blessed to be with you. I miss our intimate time so much. Let's sneak off, and look at each other, like we used to. I miss that.” well this is 100x more effective if sincere.

Romance is the spice that few of us can live without. Romance generally happens when things are secure and abundant, neither of which happens during survival times. Love can sustain you due to its power on a mystical level. This is why any substitutions of false romance always in the end are bitter.

If you are a prepper, and you have specific needs like a food item that gives you a lift, well heck, store some of that to use as a special treat for YOU. I love curry. Curry is made of more than forty spices. It is not possible to replicate in America. I have some. It gives me an immediate sense of well being.

If you're a prepper and you cannot live without some item like lotion, well stock some. Jojoba oil works well, stores well, and can be used for other things. Saving your cracked hands and feet is a necessity not an extravagance, and requires a few drops.

It is important to do little things to take care of your health. While long hair is great when you can frequently wash it, and a lot of guys would love to go for the Native American look, that actually is pretty tough to maintain in a survival situation. It could actual cause a defense issue since long hair can actually be grabbed and used against you, something that the first Chinese emperor of the Qing dynasty warned about.

You're not bathing as much, so it's very easy to get a tick in your hair, and they can cause disease. Watch for bull's eye rashes, a sign of Lyme disease. Deer ticks are tiny.

You're tired, walked ten miles through bad terrain, grumpy and hungry, and setting up the camp, collecting firewood, cooking, get the kids to sleep, taking a watch, and finally turning in to bed exhausted. Check your feet for blisters, ingrown toenails, long toenails, fungus, splinters, cuts, etc. It only takes a few minutes. The first time you tear off a toenail, and have to walk six more miles, well...that'll be the last time. They are counting on you, and likely you're the only one up.

You'll say, “I don't have time!”. Well make time. A good hunter/gatherer is minimizing wasted time by scouring the field, collecting different things, multitasking. You do not do this:
6:10 am collect firewood.
6:20 am collect young dandelion leaves
6:30 am check traps

That is wrong. That is what business people do. You are looking at the totality of the grasslands and forests to gather what you find on the way, making the best time, and not wasting effort. Sometimes you'll be lucky, and find something, maybe a extra flint, or a cluster of herbs, or a scared rabbit, and you'll harvest it then, versus wasting time and doing whatever it was that you intended to do.

Buying the tool you need

Preppers know that time is precious. Sure you can make something work. You've learned to be creative. If bugging in, then you know, you might need an unusual tool like a long turning tool or Peavey to move around a really heavy log that could hurt your lower back, and is difficult to do otherwise.

The more you have purchased tools that you need, justifiably so, the more personal time you'll have. This applies to every frontier skill there is, from curved surgical needles, to a length of copper flexible tubing and accurate thermometer for making ethanol (for medicinal reasons only). :)

Female needs
There are special issues for women. Contraception in the wilderness is mostly about timing. Unfortunately most people are wired by hormones to be desiring sex three days after ovulation, so you're made to want to make love, right when it might not be the best time to do so.

When women stop taking birth control pills, your body returns to a now normal cycle of hormones. This can mean dramatic bleeding. A lot. The body copes with the now massive change in hormones. If you can see that coming, it means planning for it. Not too great for hiking, especially without tampons. You'll need to educate your husband, and alter the trip, or make due as best as you can.

Hormones are like dropping a drop of a herbal tincture in a Olympic swimming pool. That's more precise a measurement that anything we can fathom. Not only that, but your body is juggling testosterone from your adrenals to give you sexual desire, and follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone from your pituitary gland and estrogen and progesterone from your ovaries. And that's just what we know about. Even more during pregnancy, which happens more than people realize, and people don't know it, and many times you have a period, and never know that you were pregnant at all. Your body knows when the survivability is very low, and you have a spontaneous miscarriage, and no one is the wiser.

Note, the lower your body fat, the lower your estrogen level since body fat produces estrogen. Lean people usually produce more testosterone, which makes people horny. That's one reason people can have a big increase in desire in survival situations, beyond all the stress defense mechanisms. Some people go the opposite route, and have less desire.

Here's a link When women have no doctor:
[link to www.hesperian.org]
Some men, who are not medical professionals, their eyes glaze over when you talk about female needs. You need to educate them, particularly if you have daughters since it will effect group decisions.

Urinary tract infections happen for reasons I detailed earlier. You are at a high risk in the wilderness. Take all the precautions if you have EVER had a UTI.

I'm a guy, and I never had a UTI until three years into my first marriage, and I was shocked how much it hurt. I never dreamed it hurt that bad, and it happened after a camping/canoeing trip. Thank goodness it didn't happen on the trip. We had Septra at home, since my wife occasionally had them. Whew! When I grabbed the medicine, I was so freaked out, I tried to take triple the recommended dose, because you are NOT RATIONAL when a UTI is bad. It hurts in a sharp pain. I'm no wimp. My badly broken leg, I mean shattered, didn't hurt that bad.

Drug Abuse
If you're an closet drug abuser, say an alcoholic, and go through a survival episode, you're going to find out how bad it can get. You want to taper off, not go cold turkey, and tell your group medical person. This is highly complex. Severe withdrawal can happen, and you need to read up on it. I've seen it up close, and helped people through it, and it is awful. If you have this issue, you should be working on it now. Not then. Get some help today.
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How to use a magnesium fire starter

I'm including this video to show you to light a fire with a magnesium fire starter since I read a post that sounds like the person hasn't done it before.

What do you see that's bad about this method, right away? It buggers up your main tool: your knife. GREAT job there ace. It does burn very hot. It does work most of the time. It can save your life, but doing this regularly will seriously damage a knife, not at all ideal.

Many people don't know this, but a real magnesium fire(not this kind) will get bigger is really going and the if wet with water.

Here's a little better video, at least showing them prepping the material into some grasses.

The flint and steel always works well, but it is very hard to start a flint and steel fire with a lot of experience.

Not at all a preferred method for emergency fire starting.
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Videos on Fire Starting that make me frustrated

I like the scientific method. The issue is that the baseboard for the bow drill are made wrong. The notch should be cut so that a coal forms
[link to www.bushcraft.ridgeonnet.com]
See the cut in the baseboard or what they're calling a hearth board. The tinder is placed immediately underneath the baseboard, and as the coal forms, it falls on the tinder, and you gingerly cup the tinder to get enough air to it, and blow it into flame. I rarely see this done correctly.

Question? Who knows a good way to make a durable and historically accurate bow drill rope? I don't, and I've been looking. Most plant ropes of that diameter break under that kind of use. I've never made one that was historically accurate, and would like to.
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Okay, now an expert. Note the VASTLY improved bow drill, carved realistically from a single block, probably what you're doing. Note the size of the drill, it is much wider than the ones the archeologist was making. The smaller the drill in width the more times you must fiddle the bow. Does that make sense? Watch his efficient stance as he pressed down to create downward friction from the bearing block and forms the coal. He doesn't fool around to get the coal transferred from under the baseboard either, which means less time, more heat, and less of chance of going out.

Personally, I like to rub the TOP of the drill along the edge of my nose, as it lubricates it, but you must be careful since if you contaminate the baseboard with the wrong end by accident, it won't form a coal as easily. The truth of the matter is that the bottom of the drill is sharper looking and top is rounder to fit into the bearing block. Therefore you'd have to be a real greenhorn to get it mixed up.

The placement of the v shaped notch and it's depth is vital, and he discusses this. The archeologist had no idea what she was doing.

The straighter the drill, the easier it is to efficiently spin it. The less eccentric the length of drill, the better it will spin. Common sense. Carpenters will know you make a nice long full stroke back and forth, not flopping around making inefficient halting strokes. The long full straight makes for very efficient spinning.

The placement of the boot and using the hand braced against the shin makes for a much better spinning. At first he lets the spindle or drill wiggly around, because the stance is weak. Note how the smoke comes much faster than the archeologist.

See how the tinder is LOOSELY around the coal. This lets it breath. You do not just place a coal on some tinder and blow and hope it bursts into flame. His flame is HUGE compared to the archeologist. Why? Because of oxygen, one of the three necessary components of a good fire.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

Now the same guy explaining precisely how to blow it into flame. Most people don't have any trouble making a coal. They have a hard time making a the different pieces, particularly the baseboard and drill itself. Or most have trouble blowing into flame. Neither is particularly hard, it's just like tying your shoes. You remember how hard that was at first, try describing to someone how to tie shoes, it sounds complicated, but really isn't. Likewise most 13 years can make a bow drill and use it.

Once you build it, you've invested a lot of time doing it. You'll keep it, and remake the new place in the baseboard. The bearing block will generally last much longer, because you're hopefully rubbing a little oil from your nose on the top end of the drill, and the lubrication is reducing friction. I've seen people get smoke in the top end, which is funny, because they're frustrated and pressing down so hard. Usually the rope snaps from the Herculean effort they're putting into the fiddling motion. All wasted energy.
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08/16/2011 10:07 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
What is best in life?

Conan the Barbarian "To crush your enemies, see them run before you, and the weeping and lamentations of the women."

We hear that and laugh, not knowing that Genghis Khan actually said something similar, hence the very real nature of it in warrior life. In actually such things are terrible, and few soldiers who actually do or see such things, feel that this is what is "best in life". They usually throw up, and at least feel sick, the first time. It means they're human.

Some don't feel sick, they're able to compartmentalize, which is not necessarily a bad thing either, but it will catch up with them.

A lot of survival types of the ilk that think the fall of civilization will be great have Fruit Loops for brains. Yeah rape, anarchy, starvation, pestilence, war, GREAT!

What is best in Life to you? For me, it's watching my seven year old taking a zipline in the tall rainforests of Costa Rica. It's riding on horseback in the mountains on cliffs so precarious that the horse had to thunder down with great and violent force to ascend the next hill, with the dropoffs a foot from the width of the horses. It's seeing my daughter zip down in a controlled manner down a very tall hill on powdery snow and on skis. It's the candelight reflected in the eyes of a beautiful maiden with loosened hair.

When I read some of the wannabee survivalists I cringe to think of the mayhem they might cause, instead of being leaders, they sound like sociopathic killers waiting for a world without rule of law.
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08/16/2011 11:50 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

We all wish we were Jet Li. The time and energy to become a martial artist is extremely long. No one become a Dan Severin or a Forest Griffin overnight. They've retrained themselves to such a high level, completely shaping new muscle memory and learning to respond to serious danger in calm controlled explosive ways.

Yeah, but I've got a gun!

Okay hoss, but how long will your bullets last?

It's going to be both/and not either/or. You need to practice something practical on multiple levels with a teacher who actually has used it in the field, preferably in taking down a criminal or on the field of battle.

Most martial arts are not practical. We wish they were. To do them full force would kill a lot of students and partners, and well, that's frowned upon in a civilized society.

I have the utmost respect for practitioners of arts like Krav Maga which is brutal and unflinching in it deadliness. Not too many teachers though.

There are a lot of free resources out there. When I was a young boy pounding my fists against a home made makiwara (striking board) that I'd dug down into the earth and made myself, I had one whole book. There were very few bookstores, and none carried anything like a book of martial arts, much less specifically about a single art, with practical applications in it. Now you can buy DVDs, but for free there are tons of instructional youtube videos, often because they want to preserve the art.

What do you think will be the most common weapons. I think a stick will be pretty common. A good place to start is a video on the jo. The jo is a short stick, simple, and has applications for unarmed combat as well an sword fighting.

Unarmed combat. Most often, I think we'll be grappling or wrestling. That's what seems to happen in a real fight. Here's a Krav Maga no nonsense video.
There are tons of videos on that channel.

Knife fighting would be something to consider, that would be very common. And there are many videos on that.

Gun battles will occur. The only way to get better it practice. I saw a survey a long time ago, maybe thirty years ago, the amount of people who had guns was high, but the amount that shot their guns in the last year was very low, and many had never shot them at all, which is pretty insane, for something they're depending upon.

Many people store there in guns in a deliberate way that is very far away, and unloaded, and would take too long to use. An alternative that is better is a gun safe with a fast mechanism by key presses, and with it loaded or with the clip right there is you prefer. I can get mine out very fast.

The more you practice at martial arts or using guns, the calmer you will feel. You will project that. Nervous people fiddling around, jabber jawing to stall will be looked at in ridicule by a criminal. They know most people are timid and nice and want no trouble. By the time they're a danger, it's no longer negotiation time. Wake up.
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08/17/2011 10:08 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Bugging Out versus Bugging In

For some reason, I think most people, who are beginning to wake up, are thinking about bugging out, which I really don't understand. I think most of the experts have developed plans for bugging out, but not for anything that will affect the US intensely at the city level.

Bugging out, has generally been a strategy for dealing with a situation at a LOCAL level. In that scenario, something happens, say a bad tornado, and what occurs is usually tied to critical infrastructure failure, that cascades with relief teams unable to arrive in time, and the necessity of extricating you and your family to safety.

This often happens at hurricane time. A bad one is predicted to make landfall. Some people realize they cannot ride it out. They decide to pack up and move into a hotel far from the strike zone. If you've watched any coverage, you know that the traffic snarls up for miles.

In a twist, some are thinking that the situation could occur in a city without rule of law like riots gone horribly wrong, and that they would exit the city to a new city or locale, most generally of a rural size.

Now, it makes sense to plan to bug out, as something could happen at anytime to anyone, but if the phenomena is occurring in the entire USA, then it can't work, and here's why.

You've heard the word carrying capacity a million times for a reason. When a tribe uses up supplies, they move and allow Nature to replenish itself. It's like a farmer letting fields lie fallow so they can recuperate. They'll move to different hunting grounds, something that they've tested since they tribe has done this through experience or history.

When you and your tribe are moving, you're relocating to a new area because the carrying capacity or the situation is untenable. The contents and available equipment of your bug out bag (BOB)are enough to get you away where things are more stable.

If everyone is moving from your city to the outskirts of it, and continue on the most likely paths, they will probably strip out supplies, hotel rooms, food from restaurants, and things from the outskirts like firewood, available camping space, water, and any animals they can catch. Why? Because the outskirts of a city do not have the supplies, businesses, and camping places in large enough amounts at all. For example, we cannot all go camping in Yellowstone, no matter that it is huge, it cannot all at one handle that many people.

What this means is that people must move on, and as they come further past the outskirts, they'll encounter a zone of less and less supplies, businesses, but more camping spaces (most without water, but many with firewood, and some animals). The water is around, it's just that the people will not know how to harvest it like the animals who depend upon it.

Okay, so you find a relatively safe zone. The rioting people are still looting, and more refugees are leaving. Towards you. They can push on past you, but at some point there is a limit to walking. If the cars are backed up and jammed, and if an accident occurs, or fights break out, then you're walking.

Let's say, there's no jam, no accident, and people can press on. People take on a herd mentality. Generally they'll drive as long as the herd does. Most will be unsure of their plans; their goal is “get away”. As people get further, especially if in areas of high population density, there's a good chance of encountering the next large city. That means, that progressing further might take them into yet another rioting area. See?

A 72 hour bug out bag was created for a reason. Since most people do not have hunter/gathering training, and minimal survival skills, the idea was to get them beyond the limits of the disaster radius and into a safe zone. That plan generally involves taking transportation from the disaster zone to the safety zone. You might have to walk a little way, but the general plan was to take planes, trains, boats, and automobiles to get away. In other words, use every available resource to get of out of Dodge. It was never intended for a scenario of a lot of issues going on in multiple cities at one time.

The issue with bugging in has always been the size of the city versus carrying capacity versus security. The larger the city, the lower the carrying capacity, and the worst the security could be. Even cities with populations less than 10,000 have poor carrying capacity, but they would ordinarily have pretty good security because there are not issues with high crime in low population areas....unless you look at the frontier and history. In the frontier, with a preponderance of guns, and a pretty low density of thousands, there could be times of high crime, mostly if the people were upset about a perceived injustice(lynch mobs) or if intruders came with their own criminal element and guns. Do you see a problem with a large hungry mob of city folks going to a rural community now?

No bugging out is not a good strategy, not at all, just a shade better than no strategy.

So what are city folks supposed to do? Stay in their large cities? Maybe. If things are degenerating, then the first thing that should happen is mobilizing the police and any military forces. Next, the things that should happen it organizing neighborhoods by block, since people who are like minded tend to live in certain areas. We segregate ourselves that way. That means at some level, that a potential exists for a community to rise up and REPEL the invading zombies who looting. They are not all powerful, undead, unkillable, zombies. They are ordinary people, vulnerable as anyone, just filled with a blood lust and anger.

If I'm living in my tiny rural town, and a riot is breaking out, I'm organizing my defense and most likely in my city, based on what people do here and their ethos, we'd rise up and definitely repel invaders. It's that or go to teeny tiny town or an uninhabited forest.

Don't give these rioters more power than they have. They probably are a little organized, if it's flash mob, or worse if it's a gang. But still, most likely it's not organized, just selfish isolated people randomly stealing.

Look at the London Riots. Did the whole of London elect to bug out? NO WAY. We saw some communities get together, buy baseball bats, do whatever it took, link up arms across races, and repel. Some died doing it, but most were unharmed.

It would have to get really bad before you bugged out, and left all your possession, for anyone to steal. Leaving all your supplies that you could not take makes little sense.

I can see people well in advance of a potentially hostile situation getting their families to safety. Generally this implies prescience, great analysis skills, and the will to motivate loved ones to leave, and a known place to go, and lots of money since travel is expensive.

I can imagine serious fires breaking out, such that it overwhelms the fire department, and if access to water is not available or in sufficient pressure, then you should bug out. The fire will scourge the city, and no one can make it without water.

If a seriously bad crisis happens in winter in a metro area, without electricity, and naturally few sources of wood, you could freeze to death. Of course bugging out could accelerate the process since most people do not have the survival skills to manage movement out of a hostile zone in winter and then build a shelter to keep themselves warm.

The problem of any global economic crisis is that the biggest cities will be hardest hit. I've elected not to live in such areas. Even the suburban areas of those places, with access to wooded areas and water will have problems. Good luck coping if you leave in a city of 100,000 or greater.
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08/17/2011 10:42 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Prepping and History

A long time ago, a group of people elected to leave their civilized existence on the Eastern coast of the USA and move west. In order to do so, they purchased certain carefully chosen supplies, got in covered wagons, and moved great distances to homestead. The reasons were varied, but in general they were seeking land ownership and more freedom.

Many of them had some level of training, or they sought training to understand how to cope. They didn't just go and hope that they could do it. They learned skills that would enable them to cope. This takes time, but mostly the talent was honed on the prairie, where there was lots of time to improve their skills.

I've used the term greenhorn. It's an term that goes back to the 1600s, which makes sense as that is the time that colonization began to the New World. A green horn was the result of a novice jewelery maker. At the time, cameos were broaches fashioned from materials of horn or ivory. Some people still like them today. Cameos are generally a very light beige or pale white color. If improperly heated they could warp and turn green. A novice became known for their errors as the honed their taught skills to make these cameos. They were laughed at, sometime not unkindly, and called “greenhorns”.

The greenhorns might make something that looked like a cameo, it just didn't look perfect or was marketable. That was fine; it was a practice piece. They didn't quit; they kept honing their skill.

They didn't have the ability to forge, not very many did at all as it requires its own tools and skills, and so specialists came to the prairie. Because blacksmiths could only make it with a lot of customers, they tended to live in more concentrated areas, but made money as village folks came into town to resupply, or as people passed through westward and bought what they'd broken or lost or forgotten on the trip.

Most pioneers bought the tools they needed, and then made do with the tools they had, or made modifications in the field, and sought the advice of old hands who'd been living in that area for awhile. They mentored them some, exchanging friendship and promises of future assistance, the precursor to villages.

When the crops came in, they made a little money, enough to feed and care for themselves and their animals, put back some seed, stored their food for winter, and if they had some money left over from all of that, bought tools.

Like the pioneers of long ago, the successful prepper is not just the people who store away food for an emergency. They are the ones who learn life skills that will help them survive and thrive, learn to grow crops and animals, learn to make do with the tools they have, save their money to prudently purchase new tools, etc.

Successful preppers do not think about bugging out, that's not their strategy. The people who desired to be pioneers prepped as good as they could, and bugged out in small movements from town to town to resupply, eventually making their way to a destination, not just moving westward haphazardly.

There were reasons for this. There was a limit to how much the pioneers could carry in their wagon trains. May took too many personal items that they couldn't part with...until the wagon got too heavy for their oxen. They took food, water, and money. At times they could hunt, and get fresh game, and locate water since they couldn't carry what they wanted due to weight. Then they knew that blacksmiths lived in certain areas and they could get those items in that location, but of course it might take time to fashion them, so this was an uncertain strategy.

If you look through the multiple postings I have written you'll see that while there are temporary things you have to do to survive, mostly the goal is to make changes in your thinking to learn skills to become a prepper, not just survive for 72 hours from a bug out bag. It takes a lifetime to learn many things as our occupations, education, parenting, all take up much of our lives.
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12/15/2011 04:30 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Bumping and old thread due to recent Congressional action.

Some youtube folks are either not making videos anymore, or closing accounts. A very good way to prep, if you have a solar battery charger and inverter, is to copy the videos from youtube on to your hard drive. Free add-ons for Firefox like download helper make this very simple.

Good luck to everyone. Stay safe and prep as best you can on your limited budgets.
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12/17/2011 02:02 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
If you do a search on SHTF here, there are several godlike links to posts on free material for prepping. I'd recommend reading and downloading that old information as it could come in handy.

We're entering the very worst time for prepping imaginable with winter coming. Very little rain falls during winter, which means that if you hear that you need to prep in earnest, then it will be very important to store potable water in sufficient amounts and taking care due to weight concerns. Read through the posts here on ideas how to do that.

Collect water from outside sources in winter and traveling to do so is very problematic. Likewise it is very labor intensive to gather water from snowmelt. Google that for some idea of the difficulty.

Likewise, very few plants can be gathered in wintertime, and many nuts have already been taken by squirrels i.e. acorns.

Trapping will still work, and wire snares can easily be made, and this is far less labor intensive then hunting or trapping from making deadfalls or figure four traps. Ammunition should be carefully saved. With many people trapping, expect progressively low yields, and of course lower ones normally from animals dying due to winter.

All of this means that adequate prepping is essential now that there are rumors about the government telling people to begin prepping.

If things get truly bad, one of the most difficult ways to prep is lighting. Batteries run out after awhile, but the new LEDs last a long time. There are new dynamo flashlights that charge up a supercapacitor after 2 minutes of winding. Then the light works for 30 minutes. This can be 100,000 times (estimated) and works without batteries. Regular dynamo lights work with an interior battery that will fail after about a year. Worth knowing for prepping.

The Native American melted rendered animal fat by soaking dried cattail heads over a six hour period. Then they could produce light for about six hours of burning. From my research, it seems to be the best way to light using natural materials. Of course, caution should be used for burning anything indoors.

Wax can be made from two main plant sources: sumac and bayberry. Sumac is what the Japanese use to make candles for religious ceremonies and its supposed to burn well. Sumac also grows throughout the country.

Getting oils for oil lamps is problematic from oil presses based on large plant amounts that must be grown. Some sunflowers varieties produce more oil, but no more than 3 gallons from growing 2500 square feet of them.

Pine resins can be easily collected and burned for short periods. So can birch bark, and birch oil can be made from the charcoaling/drip method, and this will burn well too.

Naturally these may seem like more extreme methods of prepping since it goes way beyond standard 30-60days of preps, but I think now it's a good idea to think long term.
Israel is Eternal

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12/17/2011 02:21 AM

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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Water sources

Discarded milk jugs contain small amounts of milk protein and will be terrible ways of storing water. They only serve as incubators for bacteria as well.

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1496915

Beans7491t9 Hi OP, it's a good thread you have going here. You're right about milk jugs, even although I rinsed em out well the water goes off quickly. Although it's OK for a few days in a cool spot.

Tea is a lot cheaper than coffee and also has something in it that (I forget) helps you to stave off typhoid and other illness. It can also be used 2 or 3 times. Get regular black tea, loose if available. But at any rate stay away from fancy scented Jasmine tea or similar.

Don't forget lots of bleach.

Here is a thread I did a few years ago... Thread: Your Last Ever Supermarket Shopping Spree

Last Edited by Judethz on 12/17/2011 02:23 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Thanks. Re coffee, dandelion root when roasted makes a serviceable coffee substitute and is even better when mixed with roasted chicory root. Coffee will become very precious and a luxury. They make coffee singlets, which is coffee in tea bags, and it's a way (though much more expensive) to easily make coffee when camping with very little fuss. If people are bugging in, but some of the family is out hunting overnight, then the coffee singles are very handy.

Having a military style metal canteen holder and a stainless water bottle means that you can use them in a pinch near a fire. That might be important versus a typical water bottle.

A rocket stove can easily be made from discarded tin can and some tin snips, and a drill (with a step bit especially). I'm thinking about making some extras to give away as presents. They use a tiny amount of fuel (twigs) versus a lot of wasted heat from a normal cook fire. Wood can be very plentiful, but if the whole neighborhood is looking for firewood, well you can imagine the problem, especially in winter.

Solar ovens can easily be made with an old tire covered with glass. You can also make one from scratch, or use a windshield reflector. Those will all be difficult to use in winter too.

One fairly easy fire is the Dakota Hole. Do an Internet search. It's basically a rocket stove in the ground, and the air draw tube feeds in oxygen to ignite the fire more efficiently and burns more efficiently too. It also can be as easily seen since the fire is below ground. The Lakota used seasoned buffalo chips (cow patties) as fuel, and many city folks won't consider them. Dried cow manure burns with little odor and burns hot with little ash produced. It might be a good fuel source that no one else is considering.

Do a search on Argentina to see what might simply happen with an economic collapse. That's much more likely than a full blown collapse, and much easier to prep for. Stocking up on canned food and beans and rice is pretty cheap, and can easily be eaten regardless. Act responsibly, both financially and rationally. Scaring your friends and family isn't responsible, but prepping and saving money in doing so is always a good idea.