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  • Get Home Bag
    Assembling a get home bag Something is wrong. You don't know what it is. Your car won't start. No planes over head. No sounds of cars on the highway. Do you have a Get Home Bag? Do you have water? Can you make fire? Having a get home bag is important when you are away […]
  • Make Fire With Vaseline Cotton Ball and Jute Twine
    Vaseline Cotton Ball and Jute Twine Starting a fire is easy with Vaseline soaked cotton balls and some jute twine. In this You Tube video I explain how to use a Vaseline cotton ball as tinder to start a campfire for cooking and keeping warm in survival situations and for camping. Share on Facebook The […]
  • Garden Preparation For Spring
    Garden Preparation Getting a Garden Spot Ready for Spring Prepare a garden spot for spring planting by using some high mil black plastic. The black plastic will screen out the sun light killing any grass under it. Prepping a garden spot can also be done by placing cardboard over the area to be used [Read […]
  • How To Make Char Cloth and Charcoal
    Char Cloth Today I will show you how to make char cloth and charcoal. Some cotton cloth. Some pieces of wood. A small metal tin with one small hole punched in it. Add some fire and you can make char cloth to start a campfire and charcoal for writing on hard surfaces when you [Read […]

Grid Down Cooking Using A Propane Stove

Grid down cooking, when the electricity goes off, can be as easy as lighting a propane camp stove.

When power to your home has been knocked out due to a summer thunderstorm or a winter ice storm, cooking becomes an issue. Even a simple cup of coffee isn't easy anymore without driving down to your local McDonald's or other restaurant to retrieve a cup.

Coleman single burner propane stove Grid Down Cooking

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The easiest method I have been able to devise for being prepared to cook during power outages is a simple propane camp stove. For a short-term power loss, it is very quick, very clean and will boil 8 cups of water in less than seven minutes. Whether you are cooking breakfast, lunch, supper or making a pot of coffee, a camp stove fills the bill.

stovetop coffee percolator Grid Down Cooking

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In the following YouTube video I make 8 cups of coffee in an older type stovetop percolator. The percolator I am using, I've had for many years. It is an aluminum percolator. The flame from the propane stove does wear on the bottom of the aluminum coffee pot. It would be better to purchase a stainless steel percolator for use on a propane stove.

Grid Down Cooking

For those of you who use electricity to cook with, using natural or propane gas is a little bit different. The learning curve isn't terribly sharp, but there is a learning curve. The flame from a gas stove actually, in my opinion, cook's far better than electricity. When using gas to cook with, use a small flame. Most people who are not used to cooking with gas, inevitably turn the flame up too high.

I cook with electricity myself only because of the danger of an earthquake fracturing a gas line under my home. Due to this possible danger, I do not use gas inside my home although my central heat and air unit does heat with natural gas. I can tap that gas line and use it to cook with in an emergency but under most circumstances I would certainly choose to not do that.

Be sure to place the propane bottle, stand and burner on a stable surface. At the height the burner and stand is, there is a danger of tipping so keep children away from the area when cooking.

 

Helping You Help Yourself

Bobby

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Get Home Bag

Get Home Bag

A get home bag is for returning home safe and sound when traveling to work, on vacation or whenever you are "just going down the road". Often confused with a bug out bag, a get home bag contains only the items you need for basic survival in the conditions you will be traveling in.

get home bag

A get home bag can and does take on several different designs and is filled with different support gear. Some people try to tell you what you need in a bag. No one, unless they live in the area you will be traveling in, can tell you what items you need. If you stop and think about it, the gear someone needs in a desert is far different form the items you need in the mountains.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The differences in temperature, rain, snow, availability of water and the time of year will all greatly influence what you should carry. Heavy clothing and insulated underwear could be useful in a cold climate. In the desert you need extra water. You get the picture. In the world of get home bags, one size doesn't fit all. If you try to meet and exceed your expectations of being prepared for all possible scenarios, you would be carrying the weight of your entire home on your back. We can't prep for everything so we prep for the most likely scenarios for our area.

 

Some Gear Is Common To All Get Home Bags

The need for water and a filter should be the most important piece of gear. Next is fire and several ways to make fire. After fire, depending on distance you may have to travel, is food. Good quality knife. Compass and map of the area you are traveling. Good hiking footwear, keeping in mind you may have to travel over land to get home quicker. Items like these are common to all get home and bug out bags. After these items, the gear enters the realm of....it depends!

It Depends

It depends on the environment in which you will be traveling. How far you may have to travel and what mode of transportation you will be using. As far as transportation goes, I always assume I will have to travel by foot. It will be simply good luck if you can find a mode of transportation that doesn't involve walking during a grid down situation. That being said, you need weapons. Hopefully a firearm, a good pair of hiking boots or shoes and extra socks to change out as needed.

Depends On Environment

The other gear you need will depend on the environment and time of year. In warmer weather you may need bug spray, possibly even a screened (no see-um) hood, cap or hat and wet weather gear among other items.

In cooler or colder climates, you need extra warm clothing, insulated boots, possibly snow shoes, wet weather gear and other items.

Think about the environment you will be in. Then and only then, decide for yourself what gear you will need.

Emergency Food

You would think you would need emergency food in all get home bags and you could be right. But not necessarily so. If you work 10 miles from home, you don't need food unless you are disabled to the extent of not being able to travel more than 2 miles a day.

 

Helping You Help Yourself

Bobby

 

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Make An Herbal Poultice-Tea Bag Poultice

Make an herbal poultice. Herbal poultices are useful for external and some internal issues. A poultice can be beneficial for use on broken bones, insect bites, rash, sprains, boils and other common medical issues that may arise.

Make an Herbal Poultice

Collect these items:

  • Herb or herbs you need for the particular illness or injury you are treating.
  • A thin cotton cloth of suitable size to fold the poultice in.
  • A couple of towels. One to place under the treated area. The other to wrap the treated area with to hold in heat.
  • If you desire, a heating pad or hot water bottle.

How to make an herbal poultice

Put a pan of water on to boil. While the water is coming to a boil, chop or grind the herbs you will be using into a fine texture. Add enough boiling water to the masticated herbs to form a medium paste. Not too dry but just short of dripping. Using the thin cotton cloth, spoon the herbal mixture into the center, folding it into the cloth. Apply the folded cloth to the affected area, covering it with a towel to retain heat. If using a hot water bottle, place the bottle directly onto the cloth poultice and cover with a towel. If using a heating pad, place the pad on the outside of the dry towel. Alternately you can apply the chopped herbs directly onto the affected area, covering it with a towel and hot water bottle or heating pad. (Always keep the heating pad dry. There is a risk of electrical shock if you allow it to get wet.)

Keep the poultice wet and warm. If it cools down or dries out, re-apply more for up to an hour or two.

make an herbal poultice-comfrey

Poultices and their usage

Herbal poultices are useful for broken bones, sprains and to quickly heal a cut when used with comfrey, sometimes known as knit bone or boneset. If used to help heal a cut, do not use on a deep wound. The wound will start healing from the outside in and cause an abscess and the need to re open the wound for drainage.

Make An Herbal Poultice - Tea bags are an herbal poultice

tea bag Poultice

A tea bag is great for making tea. To me, it is nothing more than a pre made poultice for toothache, boils, black eyes and other bruises.

This information is only for minor issues or for use in a grid down situation. As always, if you have an infected or serious wound, get prompt and professional medical care.

 

Helping You Help Yourself

Bobby

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Plantain - Natures Band Aid and Food Source

Natures Band Aid and Food Source

With Spring coming on, there will be plantain plants springing up every where. Considered a weed in the urban landscape, it is loathed by the urban gardener. Like many herbals, plantain was imported to the Americas by European settlers for it's medicinal properties and due to being familiar with it and it's use in the old world.

plantain

Plantain is now found all over the world. The type of plantain (Plantago major), I am speaking of is not the banana type but the medicinal plant that grows in lawns, field and in other areas that the ground has been disturbed. Plantain seed have been known to be viable, when left in soil, for up to 60 years.

Two Types

In the area of the country I live, there are primarily two types of plantain. Broad leaf and narrow leaf. Both work well for their medicinal properties. The broad leaf type is more tasty for consumption.

The so-called weed plantain, has medicinal and nutritional properties.  Plantain is loaded with iron, vitamins and minerals, that will be important to your survival during grid down or other austere times.

Nutrition

For nutrition, the leaves are best picked and cooked when less than 4 inches in length. Pick the leaves in the early spring and after mowing you're yard, when the new shoots are young and tender. The bigger leaves are edible but are bitter, fibrous and more difficult to eat. To cook you can saute with a little olive oil for a few minutes or boil like spinach, turnip greens or collard greens. Plantain can also be used in soups and stews.

Medicinal

The medicinal properties of plantain is legendary. It is used for  stings, sores and applied to wounds to facilitate healing and prevent infection.

For use as a medicinal for wounds and stings, you can simply bruise the leaf by rolling it between your fingers until the plant juices are released and apply directly to the wound holding it in place with medical or any other tape available or a homemade bandage made of white cotton cloth. Even holding the leaf in place with you're other fingers for a short period of time will assist the healing process but is best held on the injury, for three to four hours then changed.

To make optimum use of the healing powers of plantain, it is better to make a plantain poultice. This poultice is made by tearing or cutting the plantain leaf and bruising (mashing) the pieces, then applying the paste directly to the sting or wound, holding it in place with a strip of white cotton cloth. If the cut is deep, you shouldn't apply the paste directly to the wound. In this case, make a bandage from a small square of cotton cloth, folding the paste inside then apply it to the deep cut, holding it in place with a cloth strip.

plantain-seed-heads

Plantain Seed Head

The seed's from the seed head of the plantain, has a mild laxative effect. They contain a great deal of fiber and therefore are great for you're digestive tract.

Who would have thought that a medicinal plant that is so beneficial would be found growing in your own back yard.

 

Helping You Help Yourself

Bobby

 

 

 

 

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Sawing Firewood With A Crosscut Saw

Sawing firewood. Have you given much thought to what you will use for heat in a grid down situation? Your best bet is propane or natural gas in a short term grid down, if you have heaters that don't require electricity to run the fan or thermostat.  The best bet for a long term grid down situation for most people is wood heat.

In a long term grid down, there will be very little to no gasoline and electricity available to use or buy at any price so we must prepare to saw wood and transport it by hand. Having draft horses or mules to pull a wagon would be nice but they have to be fed, bringing on a whole new set of problems. Planting more grain and harvesting hay to feed them through the winter and spring in addition to needing pull behind plows, disks, hay mowers, balers and planters. All of this can be done. The Amish live like this and seem to do well running small farm operations by using crop rotation, planting nitrogen fixing crops and using some fertilizer. If you did this everyday, you can do it too. Starting from square one would be difficult under already difficult conditions.

In order to use wood heat, you must have wood available to cut. It needs to be close enough to your home so you can transport it by pulling a wagon or pushing a wheelbarrow by hand.  With no gasoline available, you will also have to chop or saw trees down and saw the trees into usable (stove) lengths, besides splitting the larger pieces of wood.

Sawing Firewood

Once you have fell a tree and trimed the limbs from the trunk, the tree must be cut up into usable lengths. Sounds simple doesn't it? Not so fast there hot rod! There are several items you will need and they will make things easier. Notice I said easier not easy! There is nothing easy about cutting stove wood by hand. This is hard dangerous work!

crosscut saw

Equipment Needed

You will need a crosscut saw, two sawbucks (An X shaped cradle to lay the tree trunk in for cutting), block and tackle with rope and two chokers (Chokers are made of cloth strapping or steel cable with a loop on each end and are used to wrap around or otherwise attach to a heavy object to assist in lifting.)

Once the fell tree is trimmed, place one choker in a near by tree, on a large limb close to the trunk or around the trunk of a near by tree. It only needs to be high enough to raise the fell tree high enough to place the sawbucks under it. Hook the block and tackle to the loose end of the choker. Put the other choker around the fell tree close to the balancing point, wrapping it as many times as you can to make it as short as possible. Draw the tree up into the air, tying off the rope to a nearby tree. Place the sawbucks under it or have whom ever is helping you, place the sawbucks under it, placing each one about ten feet from each end. Let the tree down to rest on the sawbucks. Leave the block and tackle attached if the tree is large in diameter, you will need to lift it again to move the sawbucks. When cutting, make two cuts on one end then cut two times on the other end. This keeps the tree balanced in the saw bucks and minimizes the number of times you have to lift the tree to move the sawbucks. Learn how to saw firewood with a crosscut saw. If you heat and or cook with wood, cutting wood is a year around process.

Maintain your axes and saws. Learn how to sharpen them properly.

 

Helping You Help Yourself

Bobby

 

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