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Friday, June 4, 2010

Fire Starters

"Fire, I'll take you to learn
You're gonna burn, you're gonna burn"
-Fire, by Arthur Brown, #1 for one week in 1968
With warmer days and thoughts of camping, here's an idea for creating your own fire starter. See Instructables.com for more details, photos, and alternative ideas for fire starters.
1. Gather dryer lint, an empty paper egg carton, old candles or wax, dental floss, and scissors.
2. Cut or break the wax into small pieces for faster melting.
3. Melt the wax in a double boiler set-up using a disposable glass jar or can with an opening several inches across. The can or jar will get quite messy. Place the can or jar in boiling water (keep on eye on the water level - too much and the jar will float and perhaps tip over, too little and the pot goes dry) Once the wax is melted, turn down the heat to a simmer (or off) to avoid buring the wax.
4. Stuff the lint into the egg carton compartments. Pack as much as possible for longer burning.
5. Cut apart the egg carton compartments and fold the edges over to cover the top.
6. Tie the lint up inside the closed compartments with dental floss. Leave six or more inches at the end of the knot for you to hold in the next step.
7. Did each package into the wax. Cover completely and let the wax soak inside. Wait for no bubbles rise from the package. Set packages on paper towel to drain.
8. When done pour extra wax over the starters (for extra water proofing). Let the starters dry for an hour or two.
9. To use, light a corner with a match and enjoy for 15 minutes or so.
Bottom Line
The comments on the Instructables website include some variations like pouring the wax directly into the egg carton before cutting the compartments apart, using twine instead of dental floss so it acts as a wick, wrapping the lint in strips of newspaper instead, using a crock pot to melt wax, etc. This is a simple idea with many ways to be creative. Just don't melt the wax over direct heat - you could get a flash fire.

Buzz buzz baby + First aid tips for insect bites & stings

From Bill and Janet of Arizona Preppers Network:

Here in Southern Arizona we personally haven’t noticed a reduction in the bee population like many other states and, since spring is in full bloom here, there’s a LOT of pollen ready for the taking. But with bees come the chance of swarms and stings. We primarily have Africanized bees here but for the most part, they leave humans alone unless someone disturbs a hive or is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This past weekend Bill and I were out front washing windows and heard .. then saw a swarm of bees in the middle of our street in front of our home, then it flew across our neighbor’s yard. We thought the swarm went into the wildlife corridor behind neighbor’s home but nope… they hung out in our neighbor’s mesquite tree since Sat. Before the bee removal team arrived Bill snapped this pic of the bee mosh pit.

So … we figured this would be a good time to post some basic first aid tips about insect bites & stings.

Things to watch for…

Stinger (Note: honeybees leave a stinger and venom sac)
Puncture or bite mark
Burning pain or Swelling
Allergic Reaction - Pain, itching, hives, redness or discoloration at site, trouble breathing, signs of shock (pale, cold, drowsy, etc.)

If a mosquito bite – watch for signs of West Nile Virus (most symptoms appear 2 to 15 days after being bitten)Mild flu-like symptoms - fever, headache & body aches, Mild skin rash and swollen lymph glands, or Severe symptoms - severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, confusion, shakes, coma, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, meningitis or encephalitis

What to do…

- Move quickly and calmly away from area if there’s a swarm or nest nearby.
- Remove stinger by scraping it away with credit card, long fingernail or using tweezers. Don’t try to squeeze it out since this causes more venom to get in the victim.
- Wash wound with soap and water or rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
- Cover with a bandage or clean cloth and apply ice pack.
- Watch for allergic reactions for a few days (see above).
- Call Fire Department or bee removal expert if needed.

To relieve pain from an insect bite or sting:

Activated charcoal - Make a paste using 2-3 capsules and a small amount of warm water. Dab paste on sting site and cover with gauze or plastic to keep it moist. This will help draw out venom so it collects on your skin. Note, powder makes a black mess but easily wiped off with a towel.
Baking Soda - Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda + 1 part warm water and apply to the sting site for 15-20 minutes.

Clay mudpack - If in the wilderness, put a mudpack over injury and cover with bandage or cloth. The mudpack must be a mix of clay-containing soil since clay is the key element but don’t use if any skin is cracked or broken.

Meat tenderizer - Mixing meat tenderizer (check ingredient list for “papain”) with warm water and applying to the sting will help break down insect venom. (Papain is a natural enzyme derived from papaya.)

Urine (Pee) - Another remedy useful in the wilderness sounds totally gross (but has a history of medical applications in a number of cultures) is urine (pee) which reduces the stinging pain. (Unless you have a urinary tract infection, the pee will be sterile and at the least won’t do any harm.)

Some potential pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory remedies:
fresh aloe - break open a leaf or use 96-100% pure aloe gel
lemon juice - from a fresh lemon
vitamin E - oil from a bottle or break open a few gel capsules
store brands - if over-the-counter methods preferred, use calamine cream or lotion and aspirin or acetaminophen

Things to do to avoid mosquito bites …

- Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evenings when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Spray clothing and exposed skin with repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) - the higher % of DEET, the longer you’re protected from bites (6.65% lasts almost 2 hours; 20% lasts about 4 hours, etc.) Two other repellents are picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Don’t put repellent on small children’s hands since it may irritate their mouths or eyes.
- Get rid of “standing water” sources around yard and home since they are breeding grounds for skeeters.
- The CDC says Vitamin B and “ultrasonic” devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites!

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? A Disaster Preparedness, Prevention & Basic First Aid Manual (proceeds benefit APN)

Review of a cool Wal-Mart find: Collapsible Fishing Rod by Southbend

I was at Wal-Mart one day when I stumbled upon an interesting item near the fishing/tackle aisle. There was a selection of collapsible fishing rods in kit form that either came with an open-bale reel or the classic-style closed reel with the push-button lock. I looked it over a bit and noticed a price of $29. I was a bit skeptical of the durability and usefulness of a collapsible fishing rod, but I figured for the price, it would be worth a try. I brought it home, opened up the Velcro-secured flap of the carrying case, and observed its contents. It contained a Southbend rod mated to a Southbend Eclipse R2F-20TEL open-bale reel that can handle up to 100 yards of 10lb line. I was surprised to see the kit contained a small container holding a basic kit of lures, bobbers, hooks, spoons, and weights. The R2F (Ready to Fish) designation definitely means what it says.

Excited to try it out, I loaded up my 10-foot fishing kayak into the truck and headed out to the local reservoir. The weather was clear and warm, but winds were producing pommeling waves that made fishing in one selected spot impossible because I had forgotten my anchor with my haste of loading up the kayak. Needless to say, when I expanded the fishing rod to its 5' 7" length and rigged it up with a weighted hook piercing a night crawler, I was delighted to notice that it felt just as sturdy and well-made as a regular non-expanding pole! If someone would have handed the pole to me, I never would guessed that it wasn't a solid, one-piece pole. I casted the bait with an effortless motion and I slowly wound it in to notice a smooth, consistent reel. After an hour and a half of casting and reeling, I didn't get any bites, but I was still happy about my new low-cost and compact piece of kit. It fits great in the storage hatch of the kayak, and would be equally at home in a bug-out-bag or behind the seat of a truck.

Here's the kit all packed-up. It is a nice, conspicuous, earth-tone green color. It has Velcro closures and a nylon adjustable carrying sling.

Here's what the inside looks like:

The contents removed from the carrying bag. The fishing pole measures 21" in it's collapsed state.

It measured out to 67" from tip to pommel when expanded.

Close-up of the reel:

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