Friday, March 27, 2009
1.) Check/change/test all smoke detectors. Change the batteries and test functionality.
2.) Clean the dryer vent if you have a dryer in your house.
3.) Change the furnace filters.
4.) Do a visual walk around of your place. Pay particular attention to the foundation, windows, doors, utility boxes, outdoor outlets. Give everything a thorough once over. Make sure everything is as it should be and there is no rot, insect damage or any other potential issues.
5.) Go into your attic (if you have one) and visually inspect your roof from the inside. This will help you catch leaks before they turn into real headaches.
6.) Check your water heater/furnace/AC units and make sure they are all in good shape and clean them up a bit if needed. Check for leaks and if you live in a cold climate put insulation on your water heater to save some cash.
7.) Check your vehicles tires and make sure there is tread left and the tires are in good shape and not in need of replacing.
8.) If you have water storage I usually empty and refill once a year. If you don't want to empty and refill, toss a few drops of bleach into the water (amount varies by water volume).
9.) If you have a cat or dog schedule their rabies booster with your vet.
10.) If you have any gasoline stored add some Sta-bil to keep it fresh. Be careful how much you store...also pull out that generator and start her up if she hasn't been used in a while to make sure she works when you need her.
...that is all.
Baby wipes are NOT just for the little behinds of babies. They are great for other things, like a quick "sponge bath", washing faces after a messy meal, washing hands before a meal, and so many other things. We even use them to clean our dogs' faces in between baths - especially that eye gunk that discolors their fur.
Think about this: what if something happens and you're unable to take a bath or shower for a couple of days? If you have a couple of boxes of baby wipes, you'll be just fine. One wipe can go a long way.
We buy the Wal-Mart brand "Parents Choice", a box at a time. Each box has about 648 wipes, which is more than enough to last through even several weeks worth of confinement.
There are always two extra boxes in our storage, and one in use. That's for a family of three (plus 2 dogs). Examine your needs.
I often ask parents what their child’s school emergency plan is and I am shocked that most parents don’t know if the school has one, never mind what the safety plan actually is. The same goes for the workplace. Do you have a safety plan at your place of employment? If your school or work doesn’t have a plan, volunteer to help set one up.
Does your city have an emergency plan based in scenarios most likely to occur in your area? If not, go to a city council meeting and bring it to the attention of the mayor and city council. Coordinate with the police and fire chiefs to help your city develop a realistic plan to help all its citizens. You will need to take into account the various businesses such as nursing homes and preschools to make sure that everyone is accounted for and assisted to the level they need.
Talk to your neighbors about their plans and what assistance they may need. Partner with a friend so that if you aren’t home when a situation occurs that she will care for your children and commit to do the same for her children. You can lessen the impact the disasters will have on you by taking the tine to get involved in planning for the inevitable.
What should be Composted? Here's a good alphabetized list:
-Bird cage or other vegetarian pet wastes
-Burned oats, rice, bread, etc.
-Cardboard & cereal boxes (shredded)
-Cereal and chips, stale or soggy
-Corncobs (chop to help decompose)
-Cotton and Cotton Swabs (no plastic)
-Dead bees, flies, mosquitoes, etc.
-Dried flower heads/leftovers from prunings
-Egg shells (rinse)
-Hair, pet or human
-Kitchen waste: old salad, cheese, greens, fruit, veggies, bread, rice, pasta, etc.
-Lint from dryer, behind refrigerator
-Liquid from canned fruits/veggies, old wine, old beer
-Matches (paper or wood)
-Nail clippings (fingernail, toenail, dog nails, etc.)
-Nut shells (no salty ones)
-Onion and garlic skins
-Outdated spices or herbs
-Paper napkins, notes, towels, junk mail, tissues, receipts, paper bags
-Popcorn (unpopped or popped)
-Potato peelings or stale potato chips
-Razor trimmings (beard, mustache)
-Rotted vegetables, fruits
-Shells (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.)
-Soil, from the yardStraw, hay, wheat, bark
-Sweepings: Whatever you sweet or dust-mop up or vacuum up
-Tea bags, used
-Wood chips, ashes, saw-dust
Can Composting be done Inside? Yep. Not everybody has a backyard to compost. No problem... there are other ways to compost in even just your kitchen! We took a plastic gallon milk (or water!) jug, and cut a hole near the top, opposite side of the handle. Place in the fridge. Add things from list above. Then we have two small sealable trash cans just outside our kitchen door that we add potting soil, our scraps from the fridge-jug, and worms when we can find them. Mix it around every 60 days or so. Add to indoor planters after it's become dirt!
There are also actual countertop or other kitchen composters you can buy. Here's a few links:
In the upcoming depression, when I am sure the Powers That Be will leave us all high and dry, except when they're desperately trying to get us to do silly, stupid, and dangerous things (like vaccinations and flu shots), we will have to learn to rely on simple and cheap methods of taking care of ourselves. We are learning more and more about nutrition and how the body works to heal itself. These simple treatments work with the body, not against it. That's a big selling point as far as I'm concerned.
Here are some of the treatments I've tried that worked for me. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Not every remedy will work for every person. So take what makes sense to you, try it out. Try not to be negative if it doesn't work--simply move on to something else.
For Colds and Flu
Slice up garlic and place the slices on the bottoms of your feet (not an easy thing to accomplish, btw). What I did was place some plastic wrap on the floor, put the garlic slices on the plastic wrap, put my foot down on top of the slices and wrapped the plastic around my foot. I left this on overnight and discarded the garlic in the morning. And yes, I felt much better the next day. Not completely healed, but much better.
Vicks VapoRub also worked and felt very calming and soothing. Felt better the next day and the skin on my feet was very soft.
Here's another one for cold/flu/respitory problems:
Cold Wet Socks Therapy
What's that you say? Cold, wet socks? For what?
This is the first time I've heard of it. I was reading around the herbal blogs (and there are a lot of excellent ones--for another post) and found this fascinating idea. I found it at Herbalist Liza Zahn's website. If you have a stubborn cold or flu, you put on a pair of cold, wet cotton socks. Over them you put on warm, dry wool socks and then hop into bed. When you wake in the morning, your body will have had to overcome the coldness and wetness by working overtime...
I'm not explaining it well. Read about it at Liza's page. It makes perfect sense to me, and it is using your body's own power to heal, which I like.
I'm not about to snafu myself again by saying I don't get colds or flu. Next time one jumps me though, I will try the cold, wet sock therapy.
Post-Nasal Drip/Sinus Infection
OK, I did do this one, and boy did it work! And kept working! It got rid of the problem completely for at least a week. Then the infection started in again, but a repeat of the treatment kicked its ass again. Here's my earlier post about it.
I put a dropper full of Hydrogen Peroxide in a 2 oz medicine bottle (the eye-dropper kind you get herb tinctures in), then added a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of powdered cayenne pepper. I put 2 droppers full into one nostril, then bent over and rolled my head around, trying to get the stuff to all areas of my sinuses. Ditto with the other nostril. By this time my eyes were watering and my nasal passages were exploding... I can't say it was fun. I did 2 more droppers full to each nostril, repeatedly blowing my nose (gently) throughout. I had to keep blowing my nose for about a half and hour. And yes, it stung. It was weird.
But it worked. The infection disappeared.
I could have gone to my doctor, paid about $75 for the doctor's visit, got a prescription for antibiotics maybe or maybe for some other drugs, paid more money for those, and after two weeks still have been miserable and miserably out-of-pocket, with the added disaster of having to rebuild my immune system and all the good bacteria in my system.
There's a website called the Skeptic Detective, which nicely points out logical fallacies and demands double-blind scientific studies for home remedies. It makes for interesting reading, but let's face it. Doing large double-blind studies for something that can't be patented (like garlic) and thus profited by just isn't going to happen. No one could or would spend the money to do those kinds of studies. The Skeptic Detective also pooh poohs anecdotal evidence, or demands "scientific" evidence. However, as one commentor says: she tried it, it worked, and that's all the evidence she requires. Or, one can always say "it's the placebo effect" and that may be true too. In which case, hurrah for the placebo effect. Our minds, our thoughts, have a big effect on the body (which is why the placebo effect works). We might as well use it for our benefit.
In my case, I'll try something even if I doubt it could possibly work. I've done that before and been pleasantly surprised when it did work. It is always good to question, and a dose of skepticism is not a bad thing at all.
However, in my opinion, allopathic medicine and so-called "objective science" is failing so abjectly when it comes to helping with chronic diseases, or the biases are so obviously towards pharmaceutical "medicines" that it makes me question their treatments. Giving patients poison for cancer isn't helpful. We've had years of chemotherapy and radiation now and it is ineffective for one, and it drastically harms the patient. Why? Why is it still used? Follow the money trail and you will find out why.
Ach, that's a whole other realm of discussion and posting. Suffice it to say that I think there is a lot of good in simple home remedies, most remedies are cheap, using simple things you already have in your kitchen, and they're easy to do for yourself.
I have always used home remedies, I think most people do. We don't always tell other people for fear of being called names, made fun of, put down as idiots. Well, I go by "prove all things." If it works for me, it works. I might like to know how and why it works, but if I don't, I'm still fine with it.
Anyway, these are a few that have worked for me. In my view, it's definitely worth looking into, researching a bit, finding what might work for you and your particular problem, and taking action. Be in charge of your own health care. That's progress, by damn.
By Joseph Parish
Cell phones can be a functional tool when united with your survivalist efforts. In my family we all have our own cell phones. Several are not formally turned on meaning that there is no time on them or they are not connected to any sort of network, but these phones still perform as a 911 relay. Many people are unaware that a non-connected cell phone can contact 911. The phone may not be able to summon your sister down the road or Aunt May residing across the country but each and every cell phone can call 911 if it is properly charged.
In the past when I had a conventional form of employment the cell phone was a versatile addition which saved us substantial time and money. If my wife realized that we needed something from the market all she had to do was provide me with a quick call.
In the past two months I have not experienced great luck towards locating another vehicle. The first one broke down on me within a week of signing the contract for it. Without the cell phone I would have been waiting for hours pending someone realizing that I was not at my planned point when I should have been. Instead I merely called road service and they were at my side within 45 minutes.
The second car was a conversion van and the previous owner failed to inform me that the gas line system was all rusted and after so many miles the van would immediately stop functioning. You can readily see the value of the cell phone in this case. Unfortunately, in these modern days we can not anticipate strangers stopping to offer assistance considering our nations increased crime rate.
In evaluating the benefits associated with a cell phone on the homestead, let’s consider for a moment that you fall and injure your ankle some distance from you cabin. You simply can not make it back to the porch and if you have a cell phone with you all you will need to do is make a quick phone call. Otherwise it is very likely that you could be sitting there waiting for an extended period of time.
You don’t have to spend a vast sum of capital for decent cell phone as you can effortlessly obtain pre-paid phones for less then $20.00. This is a small investment when you consider the safety of owning one. Your monthly upkeep on your cell phone could be as low as $10.00 according to how much you use it.
In regards to children having a cell phone. I am all for that concept. Even if the phone is only capable of calling 911 it provides you with a sense of satisfaction knowing that your child is always able to ask for emergency help if it was necessary. I know many schools have banned cell phones however I feel that as long as they are turned off they could easily be used in the event of an emergency. Think of the possible lives that could have been saved in many of the recent school massacres had the children had cell phones.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish
By Joseph Parish
Before long this cold spell of winter will be departing and the warm air of spring will start to come in. Along with the warmth that the season change will bring we will also see an abundance of lovely little flowers begin to pop up on our lawn and yards. These yellow spots are nothing more then small dandelion plants.
The dandelion is a perennial plant that is generally considered a nuisance and a pest. Many home owners attack the plants with a vengeance spraying plant killer on each and every one they see. These herbaceous plants have long, lance-shaped leaves from which it derives its French name of Dent-de-lion which means lion's tooth. Its leaves are generally about three to twelve inches long and approximately 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches wide.
The plant has multiple uses such as the beautiful yellow flowers make some excellent dandelion wine while you can create some flavorful salads with the greens. The dandelion leaves are usually at their best when you sow them young. Get them as they first emerge. The nice thing about dandelions is that there is no chance what-so-ever of confusing it with another plant. There simply are no poisonous look a like that resemble the dandelion.
Although most of the people generally like to discourage the growth of the dandelion the plants were actually introduced into the Midwest from Europe in order to provide food for cultured honeybees during the early springtime. From this humble start the dandelion has now spread worldwide. As mentioned most gardeners tend to detest these pretty yellow flowers and due to its deep taproot the more they try to weed them out the faster they tend to grow.
If you plan to use dandelions as a food supplement you should collect your dandelion leaves in the early spring months. This is the time of the year when they are the tastiest. Be sure to grab them prior to the flower appearing on the stems. You can harvest your wild crop again in the late fall. To eat these broad leaves you should select only the youngest of the plants and above all avoid those with flowers as these are the bitterest of the bunch. Some true dandelions fans will eat the greens from early spring on up to the late fall months. If all else fails you can always boil the bitterness out of the leaves.
Dandelion greens are traditionally eaten in salads or sautéed or even steamed. They often display a chicory type of taste with a little bit of bitter tinge. Today most people do not care for the bitter taste of the dandelions however in past years the people had developed the ability to distinguish between a good and a bad bitter taste. We are now accustomed to the added sugar and salts in our foods and can not readily do this today.
One simple way to prepare the dandelion is to sauté them for approximately 20 minutes with some onions and a pinch of garlic. Use olive oil and as they cook you may add some wine to the pan just before they are completed their cooking cycle. They can be cooked with some sliced carrots to cut any of the bitterness from the plants.
Most of the plant is useable. You can eat the leaves and the flowers, you can use the flowers to create wine and you can dry the root and grind it to create a coffee like drink. I will cover the coffee drink in another article. As a final added attraction I would like to describe how to make some Cream of Dandelion soup.
4 cups of chopped dandelion greens
2 cups of yellow dandelion petals
2 cups of dandelion buds
1 Tablespoon of butter
1 cup of chopped wild leek
6 cloves of minced garlic
4 cups of water
2 cups of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of salt
To start you will need to gently boil the dandelion leaves in six cups of water. After a while pour off the bitter water and boil a second time. Once again pour off the bitter water.
In a large soup pot sauté the wild leek and the garlic in the butter until it becomes tender. Now add the four cups of water. Next place the dandelion leaves, petals and buds into the mixture. Add salt to your liking and simmer gently for approximately 45 minutes.
Finally add the cream and continue to simmer for a few minutes more. Upon serving you can garnish your soup with some dandelion flower petals. There you have it and I certainly hope that you enjoy this soup.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish
From a chapter titled When High-Tech Medicine Fails
(In the book, this is a chart with columns, but I can’t do that here. Please bear with the list instead. I have read of some of the uses for herbs, and others are new to me in their usage for a particular ailment. Just FYI.)
Herbal Substitutes for common pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical: Retin-A, tetracycline
Herbal options: tea tree oil (external), calendula
Pharmaceutical: Synthetic antihistamines
Herbal options: Garlic, stinging nettles, Ginkgo bilboa
Pharmaceutical: Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin
Herbal options: Hops, kava-kava, valerian
Ailment: Arithitic pain
Pharmaceutical: Tylenol and other NSAIDs
Herbal options: Cayenne (external), celery seed, ginger, tumeric
Ailment: Athlete's foot
Herbal options: Tea tree oil, garlic, coffee grounds (all external)
Herbal options: Tea tree oil, slippery elm (both external)
Ailment: Body odor
Pharmaceutical: common deoderants
Herbal options: coriander, sage
Ailment: BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
Pharmaceutical: Hytrin, Proscar
Herbal options: Saw palmetto, evening primrose, stinging nettle, pygeum africanum, Serona repens
Herbal options: Echinacea, garlic
Herbal options: Arnica, St. John's wort, yarrow, plantain (all external)
Pharmaceutical: Silvadene cream
Herbal options: Aloe vera gel (external), calendula
Herbal options: Echinacea, ginger, lemon balm, garlic
Herbal options: Flaxseed, psyllium, cascara sagrada
Ailment: Cuts, Scrapes, Abscesses
Pharmaceutical: Topical antibiotics
Herbal options: Tea tree oil, calendula, plantain, garlic (all external)
Ailment: Depression (mild)
Pharmaceutical: Prozac, Elavil, Trazodone, Zoloft
Herbal options: St. John's wort
Pharmaceutical: Imodium, Lomotil
Herbal options: Bilberry, raspberry
Ailment: Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
Herbal options: Kava-kava, raspberry
Herbal options: Echinacea, garlic, mullein
Ailment: Eczema (itchy rash)
Herbal options: Chamomile
Ailment: Atopic eczema (allergy-related rash)
Pharmaceutical: corticosteroids, sedatives, antihistamines
Herbal options: Evening primrose
Herbal options: Echinacea, elderberry
Pharmaceutical: Mylanta, Gaviscon, Simethicone
Herbal options: Dill, fennel, peppermint
Ailment: Gingivitis (gum inflammation)
Herbal options: Chamomile, echinacea, sage
Ailment: Halitosis (bad breath)
Herbal options: Cardamom, parsley, peppermint
Ailment: Hay fever
Pharmaceutical: Antihistamines, decongestants
Herbal options: stinging nettle
Pharmaceutical: Aspirin, other NSAIDs
Herbal options: Peppermint (external), feverfew, willow bark
Pharmaceutical: Pepto-Bismol, Tums
Herbal options: Angelica, chamomile, peppermint
Herbal options: Plantain, witch hazel, calendula (all external)
Herbal options: Dandelion, milk thistle, tumeric
Herbal options: Lemon balm
Ailment: High cholesterol
Herbal options: Garlic
Herbal options: Stinging nettle
Pharmaceutical: Antacids, Reglan
Herbal options: Chamomile, ginger, peppermint
Pharmaceutical: Halcion, Ativan
Herbal options: Chamomile, hops, lemon balm, valerian, evening primrose, kava-kava
Herbal options: Flaxseed, plantain, senna psyllium
Ailment: Lower back pain
Pharmaceutical: Aspirin, analgesics
Herbal options: Cayenne (external), thyme
Ailment: Male pattern baldness
Herbal options: Saw palmetto
Pharmaceutical: Cafergot, Sumatriptan, Verapamil
Herbal options: Feverfew
Ailment: Motion sickness
Herbal options: Ginger
Ailment: Nail fungus
Herbal options: Tea tree oil, garlic (both external)
Ailment: Night blindness
Pharmaceutical: Vitamin A
Herbal options: Bilberry
Pharmaceutical: NSAIDs, diuretics, analgesics
Herbal options: Chaste tree, evening primrose
Ailment: Rhinitis (nasal inflammation)
Pharmaceutical: Cromolyn, Vancenase
Herbal options: Echinacea
Herbal options: Cayenne (external), lemon balm
Herbal options: Arnica, calendula
Herbal options: Kava-kava, valerian
Ailment: Tinnitus (ringing ears)
Herbal options: Ginkgo
Herbal options: Cloves, willow bark
Ailment: Urinary tract infection
Pharmaceutical: Sulfa drugs
Herbal options: Cranberry, stinging nettle
Pharmaceutical: Clindamycin, Flagyl
Herbal options: Garlic, goldenseal
*NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Source: adapted from "Nature's Medicine--The Green Pharmacy" by James A. Duke, Ph.D., Mother Earth News (December/January 2000), pp. 22-33).
I have Duke's The Green Pharmacy, which I'll be reviewing one of these days. He's a real expert on herbs, so this is probably a pretty good list. You'll have to do a bit of research on what to do with the herbs, i.e., tea or extract, how to apply if external, but now you have the list.