Welcome to our new Magazine format! All new content will now be brought to you in this easy, new format. All our older content can still be found by scrolling below. Simply click the ">" to start the magazine and navigate via your arrow keys.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hiking Tips: Understanding Declination for Navigating

When you navigate the old-fashioned way, with the use of a map and a compass, it’s important to know where north is. After all, on your topo map is a fancy arrow pointing straight to the top of the map and indicating north. So, since your topo map was drawn to represent the terrain where you are hiking, you should be able to easily determine where north is with regard to where you are standing, right? Just look around at the terrain, compare it to the topographic markings on your map and follow the arrow to north. Dead easy, right?  Hmmm. Maybe not so easy.

Hiking compass
Image via Wikipedia
Oh, wait. The compass. Even easier. How did I forget? The needle points to north.
The question is, “Which north?” You mean to say there is more than one north?
I’m afraid so. There’s true north and magnetic north. And they are not the same. The problem is that your map is oriented to true north and your compass will consistently point to magnetic north. Rarely will the two be the same.
The angular difference between the two norths is called “declination”.
So, which north is best for navigating with a map and compass? Well, you’ll have to rely on your compass which will always point to magnetic north and then either add or subtract the declination to find true north.
On the bottom margin of your topographic map you’ll find the declination angle for the area covered by the map. It will tell you whether to add or subtract a few degrees to determine true north.
On many good compasses, you can preset this declination and then read your compass straight from the needle. It’s a good idea to set your compass before you take off on your hike. Then you won’t have to worry about it while hiking and navigating.
By Richard Davidian, Ph.D.
We welcome comments. Please join the conversation.
Please subscribe to our RSS Feed for more great outdoors tips and issues (top right corner).
For Your Backpacking First Aid Kit
Among the World’s Most Prolific Wildlife Viewing – Close to Home
Acquire survival skills quickly with Survival Playing Cards.
Follow me on Twitter for more great outdoors tips and issues.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

I was looking through a cookbook and found a couple of recipes that I thought looked good. I love having healthy (okay..somewhat healthy) after school snacks for the kids--or else they ransack the pantry looking for granola bars and fruit snacks. These muffins seemed like they would be worth trying. I have to admit, they were pretty good! My husband did say that he thought they were a little too healthy (I tend to do that--hey, at least I didn't put pureed beans in them!) They have a VERY dense texture, but I feel like they would fill the kids up and would be great in lunches. We have three friends over and they all came back for seconds :)

I happened to have flax seed on hand, so these muffins worked great to get rid of those. If you don't, I would assume you could use more flour or oats in it's place.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
1 egg
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. applesauce
4 bananas
3 T. sour cream
1 t. vanilla

Mix above ingredients together.

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. flax (if you have flax in seed form, put in a blender with the wet mixture above for 1 minute until well blended)
1 1/4 c. quick oats
1/3 c. brown sugar or honey
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. raisins or craisins
1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Mix together the wet ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Put muffins in a greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes (until they are browned on top and have a cake-like texture). You could use all raisins or all chocolate chips--personally I think chocolate makes everything taste better!

Another great recipe to use up that food storage!

Seed Starter Methods

There are lots of different methods to start your plants from seed. I wanted to share a few here with you. All of them work, and the choice is yours as to which method you like best.

The first method I'd like to show you is the "Baggie" method. MMpaints @ Self Sustained Living shared this one with us on the forums last year.  This is my second year using this method and it works out well for me.
I like using peat pellets to start seed in.  You can pick these up at most any garden center.  They are relatively inexpensive and work quite well. You will need 5 items- 1. peat pellets 2. a shallow pan 3. ziplock baggies (the ones with pleated bottoms work best) 4. warm water 5. Seeds
Place your pellets in a shallow dish with warm water and let them soak for a few minutes until they expand fully.  Take them out of the dish and plant your seed in them. (one plant per pellet)  Place them in a zip-lock baggie and set them in a warm sunny window.  I have found that if you will put four pellets per bag they will stand more easily. 

You should see results within a few days.  This creates a mini-greenhouse and eliminates the need for watering for awhile.
You can also make your own peat pots using paper towel or TP rolls.  Just cut them into sections and fold the bottoms up.  Then just fill with soil.  These are great because you are recycling and free! These will work with the baggie method as well.

Another easy way to start your plants is by using empty 2 liter soda bottles.  Cut the top half of the bottle off.  Poke holes in the bottom with section and fill with your soil mix.  Sew your seeds and cover with the  top of the bottle.  You may need to make a couple of cuts in the top half to get it to fit back on.
Now here is one that has me intrigued. I really want to try this one at home folks!  Ever considered using your egg shells to start seeds in?  This seems great on several levels to me. And talk about recycling and being bio-degradable!!!  Crack your egg from the top and save the shell.  Rinse it out and poke two or three holes in the bottom.
Fill with soil and sow your seed. You can place three in a 2 liter soda bottle or just set them back in the egg carton until they are ready to plant.

Ok, there you have it.  Some simple and effective ways to start your plants from "scratch"!  Let's get to sprouting!!!

(Cross-Posted @ Bacon and Eggs )

Chest Pain

"Heart attacks - God's revenge for eating his little animal friends"
According to Women's Health Magazine, the fourth Warning Sign that should not be ignored is passing chest pain. Now I could have sworn I had already written about heart attacks but could not find it in my blog. So here goes.
While the heart is a powerful muscle, it has NO pain nerves. There is no direct feedback that something is seriously wrong (other than the classic instant death heart attack). Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. People affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
We need to recognize a heart attack though its secondary side effects within the first 5 minutes!
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light headedness
Bottom Line
If you experience the symptoms above call 9-1-1. Even if you're not sure, call 9-1-1. An EMT can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than driving yourself to a hospital. Your doctor will do an EKG to determine whether your heart has been damaged, and then decide on the best response; false alarm, prescribe clot-attacking drugs, or perform surgery to clear your arteries.

on't throw away your Ham Bone!

Instead of using ham hocks, use your leftover ham bone from Easter!

Split Pea Soup
by Food Network
1 pound green split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
2 large smoked ham hocks, about 1-1/2 pounds total
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
10 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 cups cold water (you may want to start with 7 cups, and add more as needed)1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the peas, hocks, onion, celery and carrot. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen string. Add the herb bundle, water, and salt, bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until the peas are tender. Remove the pot from the heat and remove the hocks. Cool. Remove the meat from the hocks, discarding the bones, fat and skin. Cut the meat into cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree the soup with a hand held blender or in batches in a blender. Heat the soup to a simmer with the meat and season with salt and pepper to taste.