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Friday, June 5, 2009

A word on boots and foot protection.

I thought I might jot down, so to speak, a little info on boots that I use in choosing my personal foot wear. I do not know how many of you wear boots daily, but it stands to chance most do. However, for those who do not, or may never have bought, owned, or worn boots before, here are a few steps to take to ensure your comfort during a bug-out, bug-in, ect.

1. Socks: A good boot is practically worthless without quality socks to go with it. You are looking for something fairly heavy with attention paid to the heel and the ball of your foot. Most places that sell boots (reputable shoe stores, ect) will be able to help you find a sock that will work well with your boots. I use some that I bought at Tractor Supply Company. They are a lighter sock for summer, but have a heavy toe/heel area with added elastic for arch support. I also have some n-genious thin-sulate socks I bought from Dick's Sporting Goods for cold weather use. I wear the TSC socks on a daily basis to work, where I stand for 7+hrs. If I wear a normal pair of socks with my boots, my feet are about to die by lunch time.

2. Fitment: If this is your first boot purchase, then buy your socks and boots at the same time to insure they work together. With your new socks on, slip your foot into the boot. Check toe room. The worst thing I've ever experienced is a pair of boots that were too tight around the toe. Next, take a step in them. Your heel should move up and down very slightly (~1/2") in the back of the boot when you step. This ensures that the boot will not rub your heel raw (sounds counter-intuitive, huh?) when wearing them. If you're getting steel toe boots, make sure they are spacious enough around your little toe and large toe to prevent callouses from forming. They make boots in several widths, as with tennis shoes, and most places won't think twice about ordering you a set to fit your needs.

3. Styles: There are different styles of boots, obviously. You have to decide what you like with this. I prefer a more work oriented boot. The cowboy boots just don't fit my feet and the large heels inevitably cause me to sprain an ankle. I also prefer slip on boots such as the Red Wing Pecos line. I have a pair in steel toe low top I wear for farm work and off-roading. The boots I wear at work are a Wolverine lace up. They have padded soles, heavy insoles, and a large steel toe, as well as provide amazing ankle support for long periods of standing. Look at spending at least $100 on a pair of boots. My Red Wings are almost 5 years old, and still taking a beating.

4. Break-in and care: For break in, you are going to have to wear them often. A boot is not comfortable until they are broken in. It usually takes a few weeks to get them totally broken in, but afterward they will work great. As for care, I try to polish my boots once a month with Meltonian Boot and Shoe Cream Polish. It keeps the leather conditioned and helps prevent cracking. I also treat them with mink oil about every three months to keep them water proofed.

I hope this helped some of you. Again, this was taken from my experience with boots and is the advice I give to people when asked. Happy prepping! :D

Original: http://www.whenshtf.com/showthread.php?t=12904

The Unhappy Hunting Ground: Catching Game Post-TEOTWAWKI

There is perhaps no idea that will lead to more starving people after any collapse scenario than the “I’ll just go hunting/fishing” scheme that many inexperienced outdoorsman (and some experienced sport hunters) seem to think is a strategy that will supply them and their family with enough meat to live once those pesky park rangers die off. While hunting and fishing are skills that may serve you well in some circumstances, most of you will never hunt enough game to feed yourself or anyone else indefinitely.

Wild game may supplement your diet and certainly can help you survive the bad times that fact is we simply no longer live in an environment that will support the long hunter who relies on meat he catches to feed his family. There are very few areas where this would be possible and in most of those areas competition among other hunters, two and four legged, will make hunting a dangerous and often unsuccessful prospect post-TEOTWAWKI.

Lest you think I’m claiming you should forget about hunting and fishing for game when the times are tough let me assure you that I think you’d be foolish to not try to supplement your larder with the occasional rabbit, pigeon, turtle, crayfish or any other creature that comes your way. However relying on the availability of those nourishing little critters and the occasional deer is foolish in the extreme and does not take into consideration environmental factors post-TEOTWAWKI that will make game scarce.

When I lived in New York I lived on the outer edge of the five Boros, where there were extremely large park systems that lie along side the rivers and in the case of Van Cortland Park literally lead into parkland and wooded areas outside of the city proper. Since there is no hunting in New York City or it’s vicinity it should surprise no one that my former home was teeming with plump and fearless game animals that could be easily harvested with an airgun (something that can be discreetly carried in a pack like the Crossman 2250 XT would be perfect for this purpose) or bow (since drawing attention to yourself with firearms being out of the question there even post-collapse) and even nowadays many older New Yorkers fish the rivers and ponds to supplement their income. Rabbits, squirrel the size of of small cats and flocks of geese numbering over one hundred could be found in the Bronx, and the further out of the city limits you go the more animals there seem to be. Post-TEOTWAWKI this would be a hunter’s paradise right?

Wrong. Despite the somewhat deserved image of city dwellers as helpless perpetual adolescents who would simply sit in their living rooms and starve to death if grocery stores emptied New York is also home to thriving immigrant populations who come from countries where foraging for food is a family outing. Add to that the couple of million mall ninjas waiting for the collapse to test out their new $1200 crossbow (oddly, bows and crossbows are basically unregulated in a city where pepper spray was illegal for years) and not only will the game become scarce quickly but hunting accidents, and in some cases “accidents,” will claim more lives than looting. Being in any city park after sundown was risky business even in the halcyon days of Rudy Guiliani’s crime crackdowns, a couple of weeks after some sort of breakdown and even in the daytime the parks will look like war zones, and the quiet affluent suburbs with their food stores and recession gardens will be under siege.

This is in stark contrast to South Carolina where the squirrels are lean and stealthy and pressure from both sport hunters and the dozens of hawks that seem to live in my area has turned any animal smaller than German Shepard into an expert at escape and evasion. Here post-Collapse hunting may be significantly safer, but the competition will make success unsure. Unless you are an extremely proficient hunter with a “secret spot” full of animals no one knows of then puttering around with your rifle in the woods will be wasted energy and time.

Storing food in a safe location is your best bet to survive, and starting a garden to at least learn the basics of growing your own food is something we can all do, even those of you still stuck in the big city. Then there are some adjustments post-collapse which, in my opinion, hunters can make that will help them be more productive than if they stay in the sport hunting mindset.

  1. Trapping is more efficient than hunting or fishing. There are good books available on trapping animals (Like Dale Martin’s The Trapper’s Bible) and fishing traps, illegal in most places, are a better use of your time than getting out your fishing gear when putting food on the table is a matter of life and death. An image of a good fish trap can be found here.
  2. Target game others may not. For example if I stayed in New York I’d have invested in turtle and crayfish traps rather than trying to compete with the thousands of novice hunters looking for Geese and rabbits. Here there may be more competition but I know of a couple of places to trap crayfish and turtles, but I won’t even bother trying to hunt squirrel and rabbits except in one circumstance…
  3. Bring the game to you. My garden is a natural attractor to small game. Instead of trying keeping them out I’ll use this to my advantage with a trap or two to put a little extra meat in the pot. Your property is the one place there should be no competition for game obviously, and if there is you have a bigger problem than getting some protein in your Ramen soup

Of course no system is perfect. Trapping requires you make sure the traps are secured which may be difficult if times are rough enough that desperate, hungry people are out and about. Camouflaging or standing guard will be your only options which will limit what kind of game you can take,. And attracting game to your house will only make you a more tempting target if, like me, you simply couldn’t afford to move somewhere completely isolated so neighbors will see/hear/smell your bounty.

And I’m not putting myself forward as an expert on hunting pre or post-collapse. If someone has a surefire technique to keep themselves feed on the fat of the land I’d be happy to hear about it, but post-TEOTWAWKI the smart strategy is to have a deep larder, learn to grow and forage your own vegetables and use hunting game as a supplement to your other preparations when it is safe to do so. I’ll never plan to rely solely on my ability to bag an animal, which changes depending on circumstance, and neither should you.

Original: http://survival.red-alerts.com/survival-culture/the-unhappy-hunting-ground-catching-game-post-teotwawki/

Want more fruit from less space? Espalier your trees!

By Rev. J.D. Hooker

After originating in the semi-arid regions of the Middle East, espaliering (is-`pal-yer-ing) became a commonly employed fruit tree growing method of the Greco-Roman world. Later, during the so-called "Dark Ages" after Rome's fall, these techniques were kept alive in isolated monasteries.

Once you realize just how minimal the space requirements are, and how productive the results, you'll understand why espaliered fruit trees were so common along the inner walls of castle courtyards and walled cities.

A simple horizontal multi-branch fan that would grow flat along a wall

Today, these techniques remain just as popular over much of Europe, yet oddly, except among a few high grade landscapers and orchardists, these techniques are rarely used in the U.S.

Aside from regular pruning and shaping of the growing fruit trees (which you do to fruit trees anyway), the only real requirements are a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight throughout the growing season, and sufficient water. This makes south or east facing walls ideal growing locations.

Horizontal espaliering

The horizontal method involves nothing more than training the trees to do most of their growing horizontally. Normally this is done using spaced horizontal supports fashioned of wood, wire or metal in much the same manner as grape vines are grown. I've had equally good results using nothing more than stakes and soft string.

Triple horizontal cordon

Beginning about 15 inches above the ground, run each horizontal support about 14 inches above the last, until you've reached a height of about 6 feet. Next, plant one-year-old fruit tree "whips" (preferably dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties) about 15 feet apart along the line of supports. Using very sharp pruners, snip off the top of each whip, right at the lowest support.

With frequent watering it should only take a few weeks until the young trees begin vigorously branching off, right at the point where you've cut it off. Once these sprouting branches are about an inch long, select three of the most vigorous, and trim away the rest. After they reach a length of three or four inches, select two and use strips of soft cloth to fasten them horizontally along the bottom support. The third branch is simply allowed to grow vertically until it reaches the next support, where the snipping, branching, and training process is repeated. Once the growth of the tree's main trunk has reached the top most support, use only two of the branches that sprout, training them both to grow horizontally along the top wire. After the trees have become established, prune away every branch that tries growing forward or backwards away from the supports. Each year after the fruit ripens, but before the leaves start to fall, prune off all the new branches at a point three leaf-groups away from each of the main limbs. Keep the limbs pruned off at a point seven inches away from the main trunk.

Palmette espaliering

A second espaliering method which uses these same basic techniques ensures an equally productive, but dramatically more eye appealing, planting of fruit trees. In order to produce palmette (fan shaped) espaliers, you'll need to place your first horizontal support about 30 inches above the ground. Again, using year old whips of the desired varieties, plant one every 15 feet along the supports. Prune each one off 20 inches above the soil's surface. Allow only the two best budding branches to grow. Attach pieces of wooden lath solidly to the supports at 45-degree angles, and use strips of cloth to attach each of these branches to one of the laths.

Later, branches are removed, pruned to length, allowed to grow, trained, and supported until each tree has filled up its allotted space. From that time on, they're simply pruned regularly using the same methods already explained for horizontally grown espaliers.

Cordon espaliering

The third technique, cordon espaliering, is also quite dramatically eye catching. My experience with this method comes from seeing the meticulously perfect work of my sister's fiancé.

He starts with sturdy upright supports spaced 20 inches apart, and attaches horizontal strands of heavy galvanized fence wire at 2, 4, and 6-foot elevations. Next, every 30 inches he wires a sturdy 8 or 10-foot length of bamboo pole (1x3 furring strips work just as well) to these horizontal wires, leaning each pole at the same 35-degree angle. He plants a single one to three-year-old dwarf fruit tree at the same 35-degree angle at each pole. Using cloth strips or soft jute cord, he then ties each tree loosely at several points along the angled support.

Through the entire first summer's growing season, he does no pruning whatsoever, simply using more strips of cloth to fasten the main trunks to the supports as they continue to grow. Next, all upward growing branches are pruned off at a point three leaves away from the central trunk, while downward and sideways growing branches are pruned off two leaves away from the trunk. Each year after the fruit ripens, these branches are pruned in the same manner. Once the trunks have reached the top wire, they're kept trimmed to that height.

He uses this cordon espaliering technique to form edible and picturesque living fences around smaller properties and estates. When planting small orchards he spaces rows of trees trained in the fashion either six feet apart (as done in Europe) which is perfect spacing for a hand cart, or nine feet apart, which is ideal for driving a pickup between the rows during harvesting.

Horizontal or palmette espaliers can readily be grown in rows with this same row spacing, and in fact are often grown that way in much of Europe.

I prefer using these growing techniques right along the house walls, or porch edges, as these plantings made 6 to 24 inches away from the walls not only guarantees an abundance of ripe fruit in close proximity to the kitchen, but during the summer's heat the deciduous leaves provide some cooling shade.

Forcing fruit trees to grow more horizontally greatly increases the number of fruiting spurs, while reducing both sucker and leaf growth. We've found that once your trees are well established, the area between the trunks provides an ideal location for plantings of low growing herbs and vegetables.

Original at: Unknown

Found @:http://survival-training.info/articles10/Wantmorefruitfromlessspace.htm

What Number Please?

by Joseph Parish

It is extremely important that during any sort of emergency that you keep in touch with family members and friends. This simple act keeps the family from worrying and contacting the authorities in an effort to find out what your status is. These simple procedures may help to ease the way you contact people.

It is extremely important that during any sort of emergency that you keep in touch with family members and friends. This simple act keeps the family from worrying and contacting the authorities in an effort to find out what your status is. These simple procedures may help to ease the way you contact people.

Always make sure that your cell phone is fully charged prior to the arrival of any kind of predicted storm. Have some extra batteries readily available if you are able to. I personal do not rely upon the home charger only as I have the capabilities of charging my cell phone from my car. The added sense of simplicity is worth the cost. Always keep both the cell phone and the batteries dry and in a safe place. You can often save on your cell phone batteries by using the land lines or a pay phone whenever possible. There is also the possibility that during a disaster there will be no cell phone usage available due to the potential extreme power outage. In addition don't forget that cordless telephones do not function during power outages unless there is some back up power connected to them.

During any emergency condition the networks become bottlenecked thus you may wish to consider using the text messaging capabilities in place of the normal voice mode. Short text messages are better then the longer ones. These short messages are more likely to be sent to their destination before the longer ones. In addition, the shorter messages will remain in the queue for a longer period of time. Make your calls only in an emergency in order to assist in freeing up the networks for critical transmissions.

When making cell phone calls always wait 10 seconds before you again try to make a call. This enables the network to clear the data.

If you happen to have them you can always use Willkie talkies for communication between short distance locations.

An important point to consider is that you should always have more then one means by which you can communicate. Often during emergencies you will lose land lines, cell phones, cable, internet, and electricity. All these utilities can be disrupted and potentially at various times.

In the event that you must evacuate remember to forward your home number to your cell phone. Program any local emergency contacts into your cell phone to ensure that the data is readily available.

Train each member of the family and above all make sure that you have a central contact location outside of the storm area. In this way both the family and friends can contact you in the event that they accidentally become separated from you and your group.

Copyright @2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-number-please.html

Personal Hospital in your retreat

By Joseph Parish

We tend to accumulate all the indispensable first aid supplies that we may require during a tragic situation however we frequently overlook a few significant hints. In this case perhaps a member of our party has to be quarantined consequently we need to seriously consider a miniature hospital room. This room should be essentially isolated from the remainder of the compound or retreat with explicit decontamination procedures employed that is clearly followed at all times. This room should fundamentally be disaster proof. By disaster proof I am not talking about the physical construction of the unit but rather its ability to prevent as few germs from escaping as possible.

It has been foretold that we are potentially vulnerable to the Avian Influenza or Pandemic flu and thus it would be in our paramount interests to plan accordingly. During times of calm when no quarantine is required the area could undoubtedly serve as a mini-clinic for family and friends who are retreating with you.

It would be nice if the location of your infirmary room were secured from damage associated with earthquakes, cyclones, floods or potential terror activities so in the event care is needed it would not be hampered. The ideal facilities would be strong enough so that it would not collapse during an unexpected earthquake.

We can not depend upon the authorities to provide medical care during a disaster and each member of our retreat crew should have at a minimum training of first aid and CPR. Disasters often create an intensive draw upon a community’s emergency treatment facilities as well as their supplies. Your local health care facility will be literally bursting at the seems as they try to tend to the immediate emergency patients as well as the usual workload that comes in to the hospital. To be safe we can not rely upon this type of an environment.

As for knowledge, I have tried to obtain as many medical related e-books as I possibly can just in case. During a situation when I may have to use this knowledge it may be similar to a step by strep instruction manual but at least it is better then doing nothing at all. Additional supplies that you should keep in your area other then the usual medical related items should include some means of generate electricity as well as several five gallon containers of water. It would not hurt in the least to have a means of disinfecting the water before it is used on a patient.

The destruction or possible loss of our local hospital should in no way impact our abilities to tend to our own sick and injured. It doesn’t take much to be able to accomplish this and we all can make a little room in our retreat for it. Let’s face it your risk of dying in a hospital during a major disaster is much greater then it would be to rely upon your family and friends.

Copyright@2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/05/personal-hospital-in-your-retreat.html