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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


BOAT - Bug Out Altoids Tin. Cool Idea right? So how much "stuff" can you shove into a used Altoids tin? I entered a contest and found that other people put much much more stuff in theirs. Take a look at mine and try one for yourself. They can be handy when you backpack, or to keep in the car or stashed around where ever.

This Kit includes as numbered in the photo:
(1) Tin - Also usable for Reflecting
(2) Surgical Razor
(3) Hacksaw
(4) Pencil
(5) Mini Prybar
(6) Peanut Lighter - uses lighter fluid, has a flint, and is sealed watertight when the lid is screwed on.
(7) P-38 Can Opener
(8) Compass
(9) Strike anywhere matches x7 and Cotton swab x7 on a wooden stick, inside waterproof bag
(10) Large Band aids
(11) Butterfly Band aids
(12) Single Use Burn Gel x 2
(13) Single Use Anitbiotic
(14) LED Light
(15) Wire Aircraft Key Ring
(16) Flat and Cross head screw drivers
(17) Post it notes
(18) Nylon Velcro carry case for the tin. Once the tin is in there there is stil a little room at both ends for other things. The case Velcros to your belt of backpack and stays pretty dry.
(19) Cash

Herbs for Cold and Flu Season

I happened to see this article in an old magazine in some waiting room I was in. Thought I'd share bits of it with y'all. There's a bunch of good herbal allies herein.

15 Natural Remedies for the Season

Echincea (echinacea pupurea and e. augustifolia)
A go-to herb for colds, echinacea may help support your immune system to fight viruses. The root, leaves and flowers are all medicinal. To Use: Take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture every two hours until symptoms are gone. Echinacea also comes in tea bags.

Elderberry (sambuca nigra)
As a syrup (elderberry's classic form) this remedy is tasty and effective. European studies have shown it to be helpful for seasonal flus (talk to your doctor before using it of H1N1 or swine flu). To Use: Follow package directions for the syrup at the first sign of symptoms.

Goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis)
For short-term use only, goldenseal can help to clear up bacterial infections and restore the respiratory system lining after a bad cold. To Use: Goldenseal is very bitter so stick to tinctures or capsules. Use small does of this potent herb. Safety Note: Pregnant women and those with hypertension should not use goldenseal.

Astragalus (astragalus membranceus)
Astragalus, which has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, may help to strengthen the body against illness when used over time. To Use: Take astragalus in tincture or capsule form thought the cold and flu season. You can also incorporate dried astragalus slices into soups or rice; remover the astragalus before serving.

Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
With antibacterial and expectorant properties, eucalyptus can loosen congestion and help you breathe easier. To Use: Pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, turn off the heat, and drape a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe for five minutes. Safety Note: Do not use essential oils internally.

Eleuthero (eleutheroccus senticocus)
Also known as Siberian ginseng, this well-studies herb can help your body resist the effects of stress and boost your immune system. To Use: Take in tincture or sapsule form, or make an immunity chai by blending eleuthero with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain; drink two or three cups daily.

Mullein (verbascum thapus)
Mullein's expectorant and soothing properties make it a cough treatment supreme. To Use: For coughs, try mullein tea. Pour a cup of boiling water over a tablespoon of mullein leaves; let steep for 20 minutes and strain. Add honey and lemon to mask the bitter taste. Treat ear infections with drops of oil infused with mullein and garlic.

Elder Flower (sumbucus nigra)
The flower form of the elder plant can induce sweating, which may help reduce fever. To Use: Look for elder in cold formulas. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a teaspoon of dried elder flowers. Steep 10 or 15 minutes then strain. Drink up to three cups per day. Or make a tea that combines elder, echinacea and a pinch of peppermint.

Ginger (zingiber officinale)
A cup of ginger tea can help ease congenstion and warm the body, which helps your immune system fight infection. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good sore throat remedy, too.
To Use: Simmer fresh or dried ginger for 20 minutes; strain and add a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Incorporate ginger liberally into stir-frys and soups.

Slippery Elm (Ulums rubra)
A sore-throat-soother extraordinaire, slippery elm products are high in "mucilage" a substance that coats the throat and help relieves coughs. To Use: Look for slippery elm lozenges at health food stores; follow package directions. To make a tea, simmer one tablespoon dried slippery elm bark per cup of water; strain and drink.

Thyme (thumus vulgaris)
Loaded with antibacterial compounds, fresh or dried thyme is a cold-season powerhouse. To Use: use fresh or dried thyme in stews and soups. To make a steam, pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a pinch of thyme or dried thyme, turn off heat, and create a tent by draping a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe in the steam for five minutes.

Tulsi (ocimum santcum)
Believed to boost overall health, tulsi (also known as holy basil) contains antiviral and antibacterial compounds. It may help prevent illness when used over time. To Use: Tulsi makes a delicious tea; look for it in packaged form or brew your own with loose tulsi. Aim for two to three cups daily.

This centuries-old Chinese formula stars a number of immune-boosting herbs and can help ease cold symptoms such as sneezing and congestion. To Use: Use at the first sign of illness; follow package directions or consult with a TCM practitioner.

Sage (salvia officinales)
Common culinary sage can help to ease a sore throat and dry up sinuses. To Use: For a sore throat, make a strong tea. Cool to room temperature. Gargle with the mixture is gone.

Licorice (Glycyrrhica glabra)
Licorice's immune-boosting and throat-soothing properties make it an excellent addition or coughs and cold formulas. To Use: For coughs, make a tea that combines licorice and mullein leaves. Safety Note: People who have high blood pressure should avoid this herb.

End extract of article.

I imagine that many of you would have a few of these herbs in your kitchen, at least the thyme, sage and ginger. These are all good herbs for the cold and flu season. I would also up my Vitamin C, D3 and zinc intake and take a bunch of Echinacea caps. Chew up a couple cloves of garlic. You know the rest: lots of liquids (water is best), rest, stay warm and be peaceful.

Tips for Hiking with Children

Do you love hiking? If you work it right, you could help your children to love this sport too.
Here are eight tips for helping to instill that love in them:
1. Tailor the hike to the abilities of the children. I think my wife and I failed at this one when our kids were young. We may have pushed them too hard. One daughter hated hiking and swore she would never spend any more energy on that type of activity when she grew up. As fate would have it, though, she joined the army and learned how forced marches are not that much different from a good hike in the mountains. Surpise. She rather likes the physical training the army provides. You just never know.
2. Choose a pace to match the abilities of the youngest or least-fit child.

3. Make sure you schedule rest stops when the kids need them, not when the adults need them.
4. Provide snacks to keep their energy up along the way. Make sure the snacks are high in protein and not too high in sugar.
5. Let the kids take a look at the map you carry. Show them your route. Teach them map features and usefulness. Show them your route and how the map represents real geographic features like lakes, streams and mountains.
6. Teach the children what you know about your surroundings. Can you or another adult in the group identify trees, flowers or wildlife? Point out these natural features to the kids. Quiz them later during the hike when you encounter another object that you identified for them previously. Don’t make it too academic. Keep it fun.
7. Encourage your kid(s) to invite a friend. They’ll enjoy the adventure much more if you do.
8. At the end of the hike, debrief the youngsters to find out what they enjoyed the most or the least. This information can be very useful for future hikes.
By following this brief list of tips for hiking with children, you just might instill in them the same love for wilderness trekking that you have.
By Richard Davidian, Ph.D.
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