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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Natural Anti Viral

Again, with more flu preparedness.... there are now three confirmed cases in Maine. Two in Kennebec County and one in York County. Expect more. If you are sick for Gods sake STAY HOME!!!!! If you are not sick you want to do everything you can to stay that way. While there is only one confirmed death in the US (as of this morning) there is no use taking chances when you dont have to. AND WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!! this cant be repeated enough. Stick a bandaid on the end of a finger on each hand as a reminder to NOT touch your face.

In that vein I did a quick google search on natural anti virals. Olive leaf extract was what popped up first. I had been taking this as a supplement but stopped about three months ago. I am getting some TODAY.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chest Cupping

In line with todays headlines of more and more cases of Swine Flu popping up across the country I want to share a technique that could save the life of someone you love if this flu turns into a pandemic and health services are hard to access. Or in the event of an EOTWAWKI scenario and health services have been totally interrupted.

Its called chest cupping. I learned this technique years ago when I did a practicum as a CNA and was fortunate enough to do rounds with a respiratory therapist. This technique is not hard and if done correctly with cupped hands should not result in injury. However, as a disclaimer, use at your own discretion and caution. I will add a link at the end that will describe this and other methods that can be used to assist a patient breathe easier and help clear mucus secretions....but pay specific attention to the warnings.

The basic concept of chest cupping is that the percussion of your cupped hands in a rhythmic motion on the sides along the rib cage and across the back in the lung lobe region will result in the loosening of thick mucus that accompanies the flu and often results in the flu turning into pneumonia. It makes flem easier to cough up and improves oxygen intake. The patient will have immediate relief and be able to breathe much easier and deeper.

This is not a flat of hand slapping motion but rather a cupped hand (picture using your hand to get a drink of water) motion.

Read more about it and other techniques here- http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Chest+Physical+Therapy

You also may find the following link to narratives from people who lived through the 1918 pandemic intresting. 2008 marked the 90th anniversary of the pandemic that killed millions of people world wide.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine flu.....

Just a heads up that an apparent out break of swine flu has the potential to turn into a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Apparently this out break started in Mexico City in late March and has spread across the border into the US. The best way to avoid the flu is to minimize your chances of coming in contact with infected people and surfaces and to use good sanitation and wash your hands a lot!!! None of us probably wash our hands as much as we should.

The CDC website has the best and most up to date information on the outbreak. If you live in an area that has not had a reported case as of yet, tomorrow might be a good day to do a little stocking up...that is unless you are sick, if you are stay home!!! Read all the information available on the site. This is a new strain of flu and people should take precautions even if they have had a flu shot.

Yesterday when this story finally made front page news there were eight cases. Six in California and two in Texas. Today there are reports that there are cases in NY and Kansas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated-Freeze Dried foods have a longer shelf life than foods that are canned with liquid.
While I feel there is some wiggle room with "use by dates" on canned items unless you are rotating and going through stock rather quickly you might have some dust covered canned beets from 2003 that you may not feel are still safe to eat.

A way to avoid this altogether is to purchase freeze dried food. Freeze dried food has an incredible shelf life of up to 25 years. You will not get that with traditionally canned goods no matter how careful you are in rotation of cans. Freeze dried foods with a 25 year shelf life can take a lot of worry out of your preps as you do not have to worry if something has gone bad. Having opened a few cans of nasty smelling and lumpy looking canned goods this could become a life or death situation if a person isn't careful.

I also think that because of weight issues, freeze dried foods are easier to transport in a "bug out" situation if the need arises. Mountain House offers several different options for preppers who want to add freeze dried food to their larder. If you have never ate freeze dried food I would suggest you get a 72 hour emergency kit and eat it. For the price of a dinner out($52.00) you could sample the food and see if it would fit with your preparedness plans.

Freeze dried food is also a good choice for BOBs (bug out bags) again because of the weight. Do not forget that hot water is needed to rehydrate the food so where ever you have it stored, do not forget that you will need a means of heating water to prepare it. A mess kit and magnesium fire starter should also be in your BOB so no need to fret.

To learn more about freeze dried food and for ordering info from Mountain House check the link- you will be suprised with the amount of choices there are.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

creative garden solutions

You do not need large acreage to plant potato. Potato is a food staple in many a home here in Maine. I saw this alternative potato planting method some years ago and its great for those who do not have the resources to plant row after row.

All you need is a good sunny location, some seed potato, soil mix that has some peat moss mixed in (the acid level helps prevent scab) and a big lawn and trash bag or a barrel. Sounds easy enough doesn't it? It is.

Poke drainage holes in your container. Put a good foot of earth in the container and plant your potato according to the directions on the package. Stand back and watch them grow. Once the foliage of the plants are eight inches above the soil carefully add some more soil so you cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the stem. Each time you add soil add some liquid fertilizer mixed with water, stop doing this once the plant flowers. You want your plants to stay moist but not soggy, if you experience a heavy spring or summer rain make sure your plants don't drown in the container.

Once the plant is in full bloom you can carefully dig around and harvest a few small "new" potatoes. These are great washed and boiled right in their skin as they are fairly small.

When the plant has stopped blooming and the foliage starts to die off and turns yellow stop watering the plant altogether. Leave the potatoes in the soil to cure for a couple weeks and then voila'....knock over the container and harvest your crop.

They can be stored in a cool dry place for months. Periodically check for ones that have gone bad as a couple rotten "taters" will do the same thing as a couple rotten apples and spoil the whole bunch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Today I am going to link to a very informative site that deals with third world countries. This site has many many MANY how to articles on topics that may come in handy for preppers even here in the good ole USA. Topics range from agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, harvesting etc etc etc. Granted some of the topics would not be relevant to our country but once you start looking around you will find so much information that you can use that its worth putting the link in your favorites.

Better yet, if you see a topic that is relevant and speaks to a topic you want to learn more about either print it off or jot down the relevant portions and keep them with your survival library material.

Your prepper/survival library is a very important aspect of being prepared. If there are skills you do not have search out someone who does and ask them to teach you. If that is not an option get a book or research it on line.

It is wise to practice skills especially those that are not easily accomplished or that you need to brush up on. If there are skills you have that you know you are good at, offer to teach someone else.

There is truth to the old saying that practice makes perfect. You do not want to be relying on a skill for survival that you have only read about but never put to practical use by actually doing it. Can you build a fire with no matches? Can you navigate with a compass? Have you and your family done a dry run on bugging out? Do you have a means of communication with others? Can you construct a temporary shelter if need be? Can you smoke or dry meat? Can you make a snare?

Understanding something in theory is not the same as actually doing it. There is a thing called muscle memory that kicks in automatically when a skill is practiced repeatedly. For an example remember the first time you split wood by hand? You may have been clumsy and slow. Now you can whip through a wood pile like no ones business! The first time you shot a handgun you were more than likely clumsy and nervous. Now you can shoot, drop the mag, reload, shoot some more and there is not a lot of thought process like there was the first time you picked it up or drew it from your holster. You have taught your muscles the actions to perform that task with practice.

If there was a true survival situation the more skills that you have stored in muscle memory the better. These things become automatic responses. For example I live in Maine. We have snow. We have ice. We lose power at times. This past winter the power went out, but we expected it. We already had our water drawn. I had a thermos of coffee ready. We started a fire in the old wood burning cook stove to supplement the heat from the wood stove in the basement. The candles, lanterns, and flashlights were brought out and ready. The radio was switched to battery power so we could still get news updates and the day went on. It wasnt a big deal, these things were done automatically. There was no question of who was doing what, we knew what needed to be done and just did it. This is because the power goes out here a lot. The reaction and action is a learned response.

There is no time like the present. Create a scenario that meshes with your level of preparedness and put your skills to use. Dust off that book on building a shelter or a smoke house and actually do it. If you have kids, have them pitch in to help. Make a day or weekend of it and make it fun. The more things you are confident at the better equipped you will be when you need that skill to kick in automatically.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Four Letter Word

We have all heard them, been warned against uttering them by our parents but the the draw and allure makes the utterance irresistible.

Today, for my blog post, I have decided to throw caution to the wind and utter the most vile, villainous, dirty four letter word I know.


There, I said it. DEBT and your ability to carry it is a marker of success right? You can walk into your bank and get a loan for a new car.
You can get that credit card that you were sent an offer for or borrow money to get your self a cocker of a new boat!!! Life is good!
You are successful....You arent keeping up with the Jones' you ARE the Jones'.
Your ability to carry DEBT tells you so. Your ability to carry debt is known as good credit....a thing we have been foolishly lead to believe is a good thing.
Its not. Credit is that dirty four letter word spelled D-E-B-T.

To set you on the right track to rid yourself of DEBT I have a few tips. Cut up your credit cards. Yes, they do come in handy in an emergency.
But the money you spend on the monthly payment could be set aside FOR that emergency, and if a little extra cash is something you cant come
up with or a rainy day is something you cant save for, you cant afford that emergency or rainy day at 18% interest either!

Do not cancel your card.Call the company and attempt to work a better deal for yourself, ask for a better interest rate....its worth a shot, but STOP USING THE CARD!Making the minimum payment on your card ensures that you will stay in debt for the near future. Cut it up, pay it down and pay it off.

At the same time start a savings account.This is a must! Even if the money is kept in a mason jar in your back yard. Pay yourself religiously just like you pay your other bills.
If all you can afford is ten dollars a week ($40 dollars a month) pay it. If you can reasonably afford twenty a week($80 dollars a month) pay it.
No matter the amount a penny saved is a penny not spent paying off something you couldnt afford to begin with. Look at this way. If all you can pay yourself a week is ten dollars over the course of a year you have socked away $10x52weeks=$520. if you borrowed that $520 dollars on a credit card at 18% interest you would be paying back an additional $93 dollars. At ten dollars a week over the course of a year, that would put you nine weeks in the hole for the coming year.This is not good money management.
Your savings should start now. Do not make this savings easy to acccess. Get it in your mind that its a hands off account.

Personal loans, Car, and Mortgage DEBT. Loan payment amounts are split between interest and actual principal. You can make your payment
every month but can you afford a little more?? A good way to get yourself out of DEBT is to include an extra $10, $20, $30, or whatever amount you can manage-in addition to your payment- with a specific instruction to your lender to apply it towards the principal. It may not sound like a lot of money, but the lower your actual principal, the less interest you will pay over the course of your loan. More money in your pocket is a good thing! If you are in good standing with your lender call them and see if refinancing to a lower interest rate is something you can achieve. If you are paying a $600 dollar mortgage payment at 7% interest with no problem- a reduction of that interest rate to 5% would free up some additional money that you can specifically apply to principal.

The most important thing to remember is the specific instruction to "apply towards principal" written clearly on the memo portion of your check or statement. You do not want the bank or lender to automatically take a portion of this payment and apply it to interest....collecting that interest is the banks goal- not yours....so be specific.

Lastly and most importantly is to stop aquiring new debt. Just dont do it. Being debt free and independent should be a long term goal, once reached, you want to stay there!!!!!! Live within your means. Being a prepper this concept of self reliance should not be a hard one to get your mind around. Having the ability to self regulate your spending habits is a goal we all should work on. Besides, the less debt you carry, the better able you will be to add to your survival supplies. In an EOTWAWKI(end of the world as we know it) scenario your saved money can add to your supply of tangible items...beans butter and bulllets....which in the end- will mean more than that shiney new car your neighbors are drooling over.

You can replace the dirty four letter words of DEBT and POOR with RICH- and thats one four letter word that doesnt leave a bad taste in your mouth!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ditch Food

It is spring here in the Maine woods. A time to don the rubber boots and go slogging through the wet woods in search of "ditch food". After a long winter nothing tastes better than the fiddleheads that will soon populate the river banks. Fiddleheads are immature ostrich ferns and somewhat of a Maine delicacy.

In a survival situation where foraging may be a must, fiddleheads would be the first spring "vegetable" a person here would have access to. They are easy to gather with a sharp knife but bring a burlap bag or sack as you will want to get as many as you can carry.

Look for fiddle heads that are firm, green, and tightly rolled at the tops. To harvest, simply cut the plant with a sharp knife leaving a good amount of stem.
To clean the fiddleheads there are several methods. Some people toss them up and down in the wind, a bag full at a time, on a clean bed sheet. This seperates the dried and brown leaf parts that cling to the stalks. It is also easy to just dunk them in cold water up and down until the brown and dried bits float to the top of the water. Or just leave them in a bucket outside under a slow running hose until the water overflows and looks clear.

Cooking is easy as well. To cook fiddleheads just add them to a pot of boiling salted water for ten minutes, or steam for 20 minutes. Here in Maine, people like fiddleheads so much they gather plenty and "put some up" for later. To freeze just parboil in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, and quickly pat dry with a paper towel then package in freezer bags. They keep for several months.

Of course they taste the best when cooked fresh dressed with a little salt and butter. I personally like to add a little apple cider vinegar to mine for a little zip. Gathering fiddleheads is a good way to add to your larder and the price couldnt be better, they are FREE and with some minimal work can get you through until the first veggies start to sprout in your garden. With a little care, you can enjoy them for months to come.

With a delicate flavor much like asparagus they do not deserve the handle of "ditch food" but they are found in ditches and along streams and rivers. To learn more about my favorite "ditch food" as well as safe ways to store and some tasty recipes for pickled fiddleheads (you do have plenty of canning jars on hand right??) check out this link which includes a picture of fiddleheads for those who may not have had the pleasure of meeting them face to face!

It might be a good idea to print off the info on fiddleheads and keep it with any gardening books you may have in your survival library.
MainePreppersNetwork.com Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Maine Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.