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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Testing out the Survival Stove

stove2 Last night since it was down in the mid-teens, I decided to take the little car stove I made from the How to Make a Survival Stove (Car Heater) article out for a test drive.
I wanted to test how long it would take for the car to heat up to a comfortable temperature in below freezing temperatures.
I also was curious as to the quality of the air I would be breathing and whether it would have any adverse effects on me. Read more to find out the results…

How Long did it Take to Heat the Car Up?

temp1Based on this chart below it took about 20 min to take it from 16 degrees Fahrenheit to about 60 degrees. It probably could have heated up even hotter but I stopped at the 20 min mark due to a headache I was feeling (I’ll explain below).
Time Elapsed    Temperature
0 min 16 F
5 min 28 F
10 min 44 F
15 min 52 F
20 min 58 F
As a side note, the reason for the quick increase in temperature from the onset seemed to have been due to two factors: One, I had the stove on full output (uncovered) during the first 10 min which I then covered up three-quarters of the way for the last 10 min. And two, I cracked two windows open after the ten minute mark due to the poor quality of the air I was breathing.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

After the 10-minute mark I began feeling a small headache and the air just didn’t “feel” right. It seemed worse if I sat upright and was better the lower I sat/reclined. I wonder if I was feeling the onset of carbon-monoxide poisoning or if it was other fumes coming from the burnt alcohol?
I’m going to have to bring my carbon-monoxide alarm with me in the car during a future test to see if that is what was going on. If that is the case, then it’s absolutely crucial that you keep a good crack open in your car window. I’ll have to post on my results soon.

Overall Thoughts

All in all the stove works quite well. In about 20 minutes I was sitting in a comfortable 60 degree car. However, like I mentioned earlier, I had to crack two of my windows open (about an inch open on each window) just to feel that the air was clean.
This ended up bringing in more cold air, which naturally sent all the cold air to the bottom of the car and the warm air above the seats — so I felt warm on top and cold on the bottom. Keeping my feet propped up on the dashboard helped to keep me warm for the most part though.
Most of all I’m pretty concerned about the levels of carbon monoxide. Or was it just a fluke that I was getting a headache? I think once I test it again with the CO alarm I’ll have my answer. Stay posted…

Knives for Self Defense?

Julia said...
How much training does one need to use a knife? I recall you saying your wife carries one when out.

I've always thought a knife fight would involve some level of skill. Something like 'if you don't know how to use it someone can take it away from you and use it on you'. They say that about guns, but I wouldn't let anyone disarm me.

I'd like to consider a knife, but I'm bit nervous. What type of knife would be good for a woman?
January 10, 2010 8:17 PM

Hi Julia,

Not long ago I wrote a post about just that, knife for women.
Here’s the link:

Defensive Knives for Women

Also check the "Knives" Topic on the left column for more posts about knives.

If you choose the right knife for you, it’s not going to be easy for an attacker to take it away from you. Much harder than disarming someone with a firearm.
Knives are deadly contact range weapons.
Many folks say don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, but those that know better know that at contact range, against someone that has a slight idea of what to do and some training, the knife wins most often and is deadlier than the handgun.
If you use a razor sharp fighting knife, the kind of damage you can do to a person will make a gunshot wound pale in comparison.

You are right about the possibility of the knife being taken away from a woman, there’s always the risk, but that risk stands mostly on three pillars:

1)Poorly chosen weapon:

Selecting a good knife for defense requires a lot of knowledge. The selection process is much more difficult than choosing a handgun because appropriate grip and blade are crucial. I can recommend just about anyone to arm himself or herself with a Glock 19. Give or take I know it’s a weapon that will work for practically every person you can thing of that takes a minimum amount of time to learn to shoot it well.
A knife? Not so easy. A $400 Busse Battle Mistress will be totally useless for a women that wants a knife for defensive carry, while a $15 Cold Steel Roach Belly may be a very good choice.

Most “combat” knives are poor choices for women or even men with small hands. Others are just too big or heavy, there’s not a one answer fits all knife, the right fitting grip being mandatory for weapon retention during a knife fight. If you ever sparred with a practice knife, you know how often they fly out of the grasp of people, just happens a lot.
Now imagine actually getting a knife stuck on an attacker, desperately twisting away to literally save his life.
Long narrow knife blade? Deadly for sure, but the short blade will come out of the body, and you retain your weapon, while a longer one may catch in the body more when the attacker moves away. A bayonet like blade is an effective stabbing tool , but will require greater physical strength to retain when rumbling. Not a problem with WWII troops, but not ideal for a woman’s defensive use.

Most combat knives also have large grips made for large hands, even for being used with gloves. This may be too large for small hands and while it may not be a problem when working, or cutting an apple, it may give an attacker a surface to hold on to and twist the weapon out of your grip.
I recommend a good grip, small, preferably rubberized and with shallow groves or a concave shape that allows good retention. The blade should be short, but razor sharp and thick, of good steel, flexibility being more important than 60rc hardness.

2) Lack of training:

There’s more than enough proof, many cases of women using knifes (often with deadly results) against rapists and abusive husbands. Just like with men, it’s a weapon that goes along well with rage, instinctive fighting, you stab slash and hurt the person as much as you can, before you know it there’s a bloody mess in front of you.

I of course encourage at least a class or seminar so as to know the basics. There’s Filipino knife fighting martial arts that takes a lifetime to master, but just knowing the basic guard and attacks will make you an adversary to be reckoned with. I’d also recommend knowing the human body very well, so as to know where to cut and stab, and what you can expect.

This is something I went into detail in my book because knowing those things will give you a huge advantage in a contact range fight, where you maybe have a second or two to cut before a stronger attacker pins you down on the floor. If you slashed the face, maybe the result won’t be what you expected, but stabbing on the side of the neck … Mr. Rapist now has to decide if he will spend the last few seconds he has left before passing out and probably dying trying to remove his pants or heading to the ER room.

3) Lack of proper mindset:

This is even more important that training, especially with knives. Gun may malfunction, may run out of ammo or you may not know how to operate it. Not the case with the knife, it depends entirely on how bad you want to carve someone with it.
Women that get beaten by abusive husbands, sometimes just crack, pick a kitchen knife and kill their abusive partner.
But if you doubt, if you hesitate and just don’t fight with all you’ve got, the result can be tragic.
In the end, the handgun requires to be aimed in the right direction, the trigger pulled enough times to stop the treat.
With the knife, there’s sort of an art to it. Where will you strike, will you slash certain key point or just go for a more brutal approach, grab and stitch the guy full of holes. When your stalker grabs you, will you slash the wrist, and follow up with a stab to the face or neck, then continue attacking until you stopped him? It requires some nerve to do this, and specially, I’d say it requires a person that has a mindset tuned to react violently against bad guys as the instant, natural reaction.

Think about it and be honest with yourself. As a weapon, the knife is terribly effective. A t contact distance it’s the best one bar none. That’s why I have one with me at all times.
So take a class or seminar to know how to grip your weapon, learn to strike, but most of all, be 100% certain that if ever faced with that decision, you will do the worst damage you can.


A Garden hose.

Taking a Shower at the EOTW

Here's the scenario. There is a complete collapse of the United States. The entire electrical grid is down and the government ran municipal water bureaus have all but shut down. On top of the issues associated with finding enough water to stay hydrated there is also the issue of personal hygiene. Building a gravity fed shower system to maintain your sense of humanity just might make the difference between eking out a miserable existence and surviving at the top of your game-Nomad.

Do-It-Yourself Outdoor Camp Showers

If you're planning to have an outdoor trip or go camping with the family, it is a nice idea to bring along a camp shower or an outdoor shower that is comfortable. Keeping yourself clean is already a challenge when going on a camp. Nowadays, there are already a lot of companies that offer ready-made outdoor camping showers. However, preparing your own camping shower is a fun activity and it also saves you money.
How to Build Outdoor Camping Showers
In building a sample outdoor camp shower, the materials needed are eight 3-way connectors, 9 pieces of 1-foot PVC pipes, 5 pieces of 5-feet PVC pipes, a garden hose, a 4 x 6 feet plastic tarp, tie backs, a bucket and a drill.
The first step in building your camp shower is to create a square by connecting the 4 one-foot pipes and 4 three-way connectors together. Following the steps above, the base and top of the shower is already created. With the help of the 5-feet PVC pipes, the sides of the shower will be made. And so, the basic frame of our outdoor camp shower is created. The frame is then wrapped by a plastic tarp for the purpose of covering it. The tie backs are then used to connect the tarp to the frame of your outdoor camp shower.
Do It Yourself Outdoor Camp Shower
We have 2 choices in making our camp shower. We can either make a cold-water shower or a warm-water outdoor shower for camping. The materials needed to make a basic cold-water shower are heavy duty rubber bands, a rope, knife, 10 feet of rubber medical tubing and pump spray bottle of 1-gallon capacity.
The Cold-Water Camp Shower
Cut the hose that is connected to the bottle using the knife. Also cut the other end of the hose which is connected to the spray nozzle. The purpose of cutting off the hose connected to the bottle and spray nozzle is to replace it with the rubber medical tubing. The rubber medical tubing should then be fitted to both the nozzle and bottle. The heavy duty rubber bands should now be wrapped at the points where the rubber tubing is fitted. If there is no available rubber bands, duct tape or aquarium sealant can be used as alternatives.
Fill up the bottle with water using the pump of the spray nozzle. Always check for leakages the connections where the tubing meets the bottle and nozzle. If you do find any leakages, the rubber bands should be readjusted. After completing the steps above, the outdoor camp shower is ready for use.
Warm Water Camp Shower
To make a warm water shower is very simple but needs dry and sunny weather to help in heating the water naturally. Another alternative is using a stove or pot to heat the water and then just pouring it in the 1-gallon bottle as storage of the water.
The rest of the steps in building the warm water shower is the same as of the cold water shower. Following the steps above helps us get a better understanding of how outdoor showers for camping are made.
Proper planning with a good foresight of what you want to build and organizing of the required materials are needed in building a good quality outdoor camp shower. Build it on your own or build it with the family to have some quality time spent with your loved ones.
For more shower information, please visit Outdoor Shower Shop or another great resource is Walk in Showers for details on shower enclosures.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wilford_Sy


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A baby wearing many items of winter clothing: ...

Basic Principles of Cold Weather Survival

It is more difficult for you to satisfy your basic water, food, and shelter needs in a cold environment than in a warm environment. Even if you have the basic requirements, you must also have adequate protective clothing and the will to survive. The will to survive is as important as the basic needs. There have been incidents when trained and well-equipped individuals have not survived cold weather situations because they lacked the will to live. Conversely, this will has sustained individuals less well-trained and equipped.
There are many different items of cold weather equipment and clothing issued by the U.S. Army today. Specialized units may have access to newer, lightweight gear such as polypropylene underwear, GORE-TEX outerwear and boots, and other special equipment. Remember, however, the older gear will keep you warm as long as you apply a few cold weather principles. If the newer types of clothing are available, use them. If not, then your clothing should be entirely wool, with the possible exception of a windbreaker.
You must not only have enough clothing to protect you from the cold, you must also know how to maximize the warmth you get from it. For example, always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. Because there is much blood circulation in the head, most of which is on the surface, you can lose heat quickly if you do not cover your head.
There are four basic principles to follow to keep warm. An easy way to remember these basic principles is to use the word COLD--
C - Keep clothing clean.
O - Avoid overheating.
L - Wear clothes loose and in layers.
D - Keep clothing dry.
C - Keep clothing clean. This principle is always important for sanitation and comfort. In winter, it is also important from the standpoint of warmth. Clothes matted with dirt and grease lose much of their insulation value. Heat can escape more easily from the body through the clothing's crushed or filled up air pockets.
O - Avoid overheating. When you get too hot, you sweat and your clothing absorbs the moisture. This affects your warmth in two ways: dampness decreases the insulation quality of clothing, and as sweat evaporates, your body cools. Adjust your clothing so that you do not sweat. Do this by partially opening your parka or jacket, by removing an inner layer of clothing, by removing heavy outer mittens, or by throwing back your parka hood or changing to lighter headgear. The head and hands act as efficient heat dissipaters when overheated.
L - Wear your clothing loose and in layers. Wearing tight clothing and footgear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injury. It also decreases the volume of air trapped between the layers, reducing its insulating value. Several layers of lightweight clothing are better than one equally thick layer of clothing, because the layers have dead-air space between them. The dead-air space provides extra insulation. Also, layers of clothing allow you to take off or add clothing layers to prevent excessive sweating or to increase warmth.
D - Keep clothing dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and frost melted by body heat. Wear water repellent outer clothing, if available. It will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. Before entering a heated shelter, brush off the snow and frost. Despite the precautions you take, there will be times when you cannot keep from getting wet. At such times, drying your clothing may become a major problem. On the march, hang your damp mittens and socks on your rucksack. Sometimes in freezing temperatures, the wind and sun will dry this clothing. You can also place damp socks or mittens, unfolded, near your body so that your body heat can dry them. In a campsite, hang damp clothing inside the shelter near the top, using drying lines or improvised racks. You may even be able to dry each item by holding it before an open fire. Dry leather items slowly. If no other means are available for drying your boots, put them between your sleeping bag shell and liner. Your body heat will help to dry the leather.
A heavy, down-lined sleeping bag is a valuable piece of survival gear in cold weather. Ensure the down remains dry. If wet, it loses a lot of its insulation value. If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can make one out of parachute cloth or similar material and natural dry material, such as leaves, pine needles, or moss. Place the dry material between two layers of the material.
Other important survival items are a knife; waterproof matches in a waterproof container, preferably one with a flint attached; a durable compass; map; watch; waterproof ground cloth and cover; flashlight; binoculars; dark glasses; fatty emergency foods; food gathering gear; and signaling items.
Remember, a cold weather environment can be very harsh. Give a good deal of thought to selecting the right equipment for survival in the cold. If unsure of an item you have never used, test it in an "overnight backyard" environment before venturing further. Once you have selected items that are essential for your survival, do not lose them after you enter a cold weather environment.
U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76, Chapter 15, a public domain work published by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Staying above the water line!
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Being Prepared - Making a Fire

Being able to make a fire is a necessary survival skill. If you spend large amounts of time outdoors or you are caught in an emergency situation, you will need to have more than adequate skill in making a fire to survive, especially during the colder temperatures of winter. Getting a fire lit quickly can make the difference in whether or not you survive.
Not everyone will have the time, patience or ability to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. If you can do this, that’s great! The average person is not going to be able to do this and should be prepared ahead of time to be able to “cheat” a little when building or making a fire.
Keep a good ignition source available and a couple of backup sources in addition to your primary means of making a fire. Plain old matches in a waterproof container along with a lighter will always come in handy. It also wouldn’t hurt to keep a firesteel or some other alternate source of making a fire available as well. Having more than one way available to you in order to make a fire will give you the best chances possible in almost any survival situation.
Don’t forget to have some tinder available to help get that fire started. A cotton ball coated with Vaseline, lint or even a simple birthday candle can make all the difference in the world in your being able to get a fire started quickly. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a little “bug repellant” can also help get a fire started, especially if your tinder or fuel source is damp or moist. Time will be your enemy and you will need that fire as soon as possible.
Fire can provide a means to keep you warm and comfortable, purify your water if necessary and cook or heat any food that may be available and next to proper shelter is a definite requirement.
While primitive fire-making skills are great to have, you will need to master them before you rely upon these types of skills in a survival situation. Don’t risk your chance of survival without insuring adequate means of starting a fire, even if you need to “cheat” in order to get that fire started!
Staying above the water line!

Smoker Barrel Cooking - Custom Smoking Sausage Rings

One of the easiest things to cook on a smoker barrel is rings of sausage. You can simply lay them on your grill and that will get the job done but the more traditional method is to hang the links above your fire to allow them to get more of that smoke flavor. It only takes a simple modification in order to do this.
The main thing you will need is a baffle plate and one or two metal rods. You can either hunt around your local scrap yard or recycling center to find some or make your own using a drill and some scrap metal. You will also need one or two metal rods that are longer than the width of your smoker barrel. One rod will hold quite a few sausage rings and two will hold a LOT. Simply drill holes slightly larger than your metal rods on opposite sides of your barrel. This will allow you to insert the rods to hold your sausage rings. Remember that two rods will hold a large number of sausage rings and one may be sufficient for most people unless you plan on cooking for a large group. You will also need to remove the top grill to allow easier access and give you space to hang your sausage rings. Once you have your baffle plate, rod(s) to hold your sausage rings and have removed the top grill you are ready to go. Don’t forget to load up your wood chip holder!
The next step is to lower your baffle plate directly over your charcoal basket once you’ve got your fire going. You can add your sausage rings to your holding rods by inserting the rod through the appropriate hole on one side of your barrel and slipping the sausage rings on one or two at a time. Once you have your sausage rings on your rod, insert the other end of the rod through the hole on the opposite side of your smoker barrel. Make sure your rods are long enough to give you a good hand hold and don’t forget to wear a set of good gloves, as they may get a little warm. Set your smoking temperature by adjusting your air intakes and you’re ready to start smoking your sausage rings.
An alternate method for hanging your sausage rings is to use large “S" hooks on your rod and hang the sausage rings from the hooks if you don’t wish to place them directly onto the rod itself.
When you aren’t smoking sausage rings, all you need to do is place a bolt and nut in the rod holes to seal them and prevent a loss of smoke and heat when cooking a brisket, etc. You can even store your rods inside your smoker barrel when not in use so that they will be there when you need them.
Got sausage?
Staying above the water line!

What Would 400 lbs of Wheat Make?

I received this in an email and now can't find the source. If anyone knows the original creator of this information please let me know.

What will 400 pounds of wheat make?

I believe it will help you get a better idea of what you can do with your storage and why you need so much wheat. Remember that sprouting increases the nutrition and variety as well. You need all the other ingredients to make the bread and pancakes, etc., but you already know that! I found this interesting and very important information that all need to know about regarding what can be produced with 400 pounds of wheat. Measurements are approximate.

Here goes:

400 lbs. wheat = 67 #10 cans

1 #10 can of wheat = 6 lbs. or 14 cups of wheat
1 #10 can wheat = 21 cups of flour
1 #10 can wheat = 7 large loaves of raised bread
1 #10 can wheat = 10-12 loaves of "quick" bread
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of pancakes (15-4" size pancakes per batch)
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of biscuits
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of chocolate chip cookies

Just multiply 67 by the number of loaves of bread, pancakes, cookies, etc. and that is what can be produced with 400 pounds of wheat.

Hope this is useful in your planning and preparing storage
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A pressure cooker with a simple regulator and ...

3 Different Ways to Cook Wheat Berries

Cooked wheat may be bagged and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week or in
the freezer for months.

Stovetop Wheat Berries

1 cup wheat berries
4 cups water

Boil for 60-70 minutes, topping with water as needed. You can reduce cooking time to 50-60 minutes if you pre-soak your wheat overnight (you can boil them in the same water you soaked them in). Drain after cooking, when wheat is tender.

Crockpot Wheat Berries

4 cups raw whole wheat
10 cups water
1 TBSP salt

Oil a large (4 quart or larger) slow cooker and fill with wheat, water, and salt. Cover and cook on low all night, 8-10 hours.

Pressure Cooker Wheat Berries
by Alton Brown

2 cups wheat berries
4 cups water
2 TBSP salt

Place all ingredients into a pressure cooker and cook on high heat until hissing begins and pressure rises. Lower heat to maintain hissing and cook for 45 minutes.

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Old Fels-Naptha soap packaging, photographed a...

Green Living - Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap, finely grated
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (DO NOT substitute baking soda)
1 cup Borax

5-gallon bucket

Pour washing soda and borax into a 5 gallon plastic pail. Pour and stir in just enough hot water to dissolve. Stir Fels-Naptha into the pail and whisk until mixed. Add very hot water (I boil several pots on the stove at once) until pail is filled within a couple of inches from the top (3-5 gallons total) and whisk again. Add a few drops of scent (essential oil) or not. Let stand for 24 hours. The mixture will thicken and mostly likely have a consistency resembling "egg soup". Carefully pour into empty laundry detergent containers that have been rinsed. Use 1 cup (using the lid of the detergent container) for light washes or 2 for extra dirty or super sized washes. (As it is a suspension liquid, shake the container before measuring out the amount for each load.)

A few notes:
This soap will not suds up, but don't worry, it's not the suds that are doing the cleaning. You still eed to pre-treat any stains just like you would with any laundry soap. Here are a few websites that will answer any and every question you could possibly have on the subject.

The Family Homestead - A great website with a Q and A section towards the bottom
The Simple Dollar - Another website with various laundry soap recipes
You Tube Video - A video on making liquid laundry soap
Powdered Laundry Soap - A previous post on Self-Reliant Sisters for powdered laundry soap.

Where to buy ingredients:

Borax: Wal-mart, or the laundry aisle in any grocery store
Washing Soda: Albertson's laundry aisle or Buy Harware Supplies.com
Fels-Naptha: Vons laundry aisle or Hard to Find Items.com

Prices vary, but ultimately it will come out at 3-10 cents a load for the homemade soap compared to the Tide Liquid Detergent 2x concentrated, 26 loads at $14.99 (sometimes upwards of $17.99) which breaks down to $0.58 a load.

Start saving your liquid laundry containers instead of throwing them away. Or you can try using several clean, empty milk cartons. One other option is to just store it in the five gallon bucket you made it in.
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Food Storage Tip - Plan Your Meals

Wanting to have a 1 year supply of food on hand is one thing, getting the supply together is another. It might seem like a tough task to accomplish but it's a lot simpler than you think. To achieve a 1 year supply of food that you can rotate and eat on a regular basis is probably going to require you to change some of your eating habits. But that doesn't mean you're going to have to eat beans and rice for every meal. Most meals you already eat can be made with ingredients that will store long-term.

The first step to creating your working food storage is to develop a meal plan. This shouldn't be too hard because most families eat the same meals over and over. You need to sit down with your family and create a list of meals that everyone likes to eat. The more meals you're able to write down, the better, because variety is the key to any food storage.  (There are also a number of books out there that have recipes for food storage items.  These might help when planning meals.)  This should include meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once you have a good list of meals now it's time to start figuring out what ingredients will go into these meals that will store long term.

Most meals can be created with ingredients you can store long term. One good thing is to find commonalities between your meals; ingredients that would go with a number of your planned meals so you can store a lot of that ingredient. You can find a lot of your long term storage items at any supermarket, but some items you will need to improvise on, or purchase from a supplier. Your food storage needs to be independent of everything other than water and a heating source to cook with. Recipes that need things like cheese or milk that require refrigeration can be replaced with powdered cheese and powdered milk.

Some things such as meats can be home canned for long term storage, rather than relying on freezing them, which keeps you attached to the grid. Creating a long term food storage isn't hard, but will take some planning and work on your part. The use of a dehydrator can help you when creating your food storage. There are a lot of things you can do on your own (dehydrating and canning) rather than buying it all from suppliers which is going to be expensive. The idea is to create the storage, and not be out anymore money that you usually would when buying food.