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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vacation time!

Postings will be sporadic/non-existant from now through the end of the month.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get Home Bag: Summer Edition


Summertime is here and it's time to re-organize my Get Home Bag for the change in the season. For my pack, the main difference is what clothing I will be packing. I went ahead and did some additional organizing of my Get Home Bag after re-evaluating its purpose and intended use.

The purpose of my bag is to provide me with the means to get home on foot if I'm up to 200 miles away from home. The pack is light and includes all the necessary (and some unnecessary) gear to make it back to my home.

I call it a Get Home Bag over a Bug Out Bag for the simple fact that I don’t plan on bugging out. My preps are all at my house, and the only time I would need a so called Bug Out Bag would be to make it back to my house if I was unable to make the drive. A Get Home Bag includes all the essential items to make it home by hiking. This is a bag that I throw in the trunk of my car when making long trips in case of a breakdown, or any other type of emergency.

The pack itself is a military surplus large ALICE pack. It features an aluminum frame with a waist strap for proper weight distribution. It also has 3 large external pockets, and 3 small external pockets. I rigged up a hydration bladder that fits inside the radio pocket inside the main compartment. This could be used to carry additional water and mates with my Katadyn Combi hiking filter. I also keep my Midland XT511 Radio in the radio pouch.

Below shows the contents of the external pockets:



Below is the break down of my First Aid Kit and Hygiene Kit:


The top of the pack is covered with a waterproof flap that has storage inside it.

The chart below shows the contents of flap:


The main compartment is pretty good size and could probably hold 2 large sleeping bags rolled up. I try to keep what's inside the main compartment organized with some plastic storage containers and zip-loc bags. For food I choose to keep 6 days worth of food bars. If I'm away from home and on foot, getting back asap will be the top priority. Food bars are something you could grab on the go, they're small and lightweight, and you could eat a quick meal for energy and keep moving. Water is heavy and bulky when trying to carry it on your persons. I decided to go with a Katadyn Combi hiking filter and water bottle for quick and easy hydration on the go. There is a ton of water in Kentucky and if I was on foot I would be able to find a decent water source, and filter it with the Combi for clean drinking water.

Shelter is also important if you were forced to spend the night out in the elements. For this I have a medium sized tarp, a tube tent, and an emergency sleeping bag. It wouldn't provide much comfort, but would keep me warm and dry under the tent and the tarp. Safety is also really important when in the middle of an emergency or disaster. I keep a couple N-95 face masks, a few sets of ear plugs, and a pair of quality safety glasses. I wear contacts and the safety glasses would be important to keep debris out of my eyes and conserve the contact lenses. Speaking of bad vision, it's also important to keep an extra pair of prescription glasses in case what you're wearing breaks or you run of out contacts.

Some items in my Get Home Bag are dual use items, which are items that can be used for different things. Baking soda can be used to keep feet dry and also could be used as a cleaner. Duct tape has about a million uses and could be used for just about anything from first aid to shelter building. Bungee cords also have multiple uses and could be used for shelter building or attaching things to your pack.

Below are pictures of the main compartment contents and a chart of the items:



As stated above, the purpose of the bag is to help me get home in the event of an emergency or disaster. It also is something I could grab and go if I had to leave in a hurry (bug out). This is what I think would be important to include in any personal bag. Yours might be a little different, but this should give you a good idea of what to include in a Get Home Bag. I take it with me when I go on long trips and it would even come in handy if you broke down on the side of the road.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Car Emergency Kit

As a follow up to the Get Home Bag post that went over pretty well, I will also post what items I keep in my car outside of my Get Home Bag. I don't take my Get Home Bag unless I'm going on a longer trip, so for the shorter trips I have things in my trunk that could get myself, or someone else out of a pinch. There are many different things that could happen on the road, and it's important to be prepared for emergency situations even if your just 30 minutes or an hour from your home.

Year around it's important to keep jumper cables, a basic tool set, some extra engine fluids and a working flashlight in your car. There are also some seasonal items to keep in the trunk which include warm clothes in the Winter and cool clothes in the Summer. And going even beyond that, it's important to keep a couple days worth of food and water, and a good first aid kit in your vehicle.

Another thing to keep in mind is your spare tire and jack. Checking your spare tire air pressure needs to be as regular as you check your car tires pressure. It needs to be kept at pressure in case you ever need to use it. The stock jack and lug wrench are decent at best, so if your looking for something better than the stock one, a hydraulic jack and heavy duty lug wrench can be purchased at any store for pretty cheap.


Above is a picture of my trunk with the emergency items that I keep in it. Most people don't use their trunk for much other than collecting junk, and even with the preps in mine there is still room to put a few other things in there if I needed too.

To keep things organized and from flying around the trunk while driving I use a UTG Duffle bag to keep my extra clothes and smaller things in.


Below is a cart of the things inside the duffel, with thumbnail photos underneath of the contents. Click on the thumbnails to open the full size picture in a new window.




Outside of the duffel bag I also keep a small tool box with tools in it, a small emergency kit, a large 206pc tool set, and some engine fluids and in a plastic crate do they don't roll around in the trunk. Below is the cart and thumbnails for all the trunk items.




So there you have it, a pretty complete car emergency kit. There could be a few things I left out, but prepping is an ongoing activity. Outside of the trunk I keep a small hand powered LED flashlight and my Leatherman Wave multi-tool in the cab with me. I try to get things when they're on sale, so if you see a good deal snatch it up, and add it in. Car emergency kits are important because they could get you out of a pickle, but you could also use your preps to help someone else who's broken down or needs a jump at the grocery store. Part of being a prepper is using our knowledge and intuition to help others who are in need.

Also, here's a picture of my trunk with all my emergency preps and my Get Home Bag in it to show that it all fits with room to spare.



Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

After realizing that fluoride is bad for you, and that using conventional toothpaste which is made from fluoride is bad, I started making my own homemade toothpaste. I have been using this toothpaste recipe for a few months now and it works great. It makes your mouth feel fresh, tastes good, it's cheap, and makes me feel better knowing I'm taking better care of my teeth. Traditionally toothpaste was made from mainly baking soda. It has only been the last few decades that toothpaste has fully switched over to fluoride based. Now when you're shopping for a new bottle of toothpaste, you would be hard pressed to find a toothpaste without fluoride. There is a company that makes a fluoride free toothpaste that is sold at some Wal-Marts. Tom's of Maine sells toothpaste without fluoride added that can be purchased from Wal-Mart for less than $5 a bottle.

The Tom's toothpaste is great, but somewhat expensive. Making your own toothpaste will help your teeth, your wallet, and give you the knowledge to make your own toothpaste if you were unable to purchase any from the store, due to a disaster. The homemade toothpaste recipe is below:

-6 teaspoons baking soda
-1/3 teaspoon salt
-4 teaspoons glycerin
-15 drops peppermint or wintergreen extract

Mix thoroughly. Should be a toothpaste consistency. Store in an airtight container.

The baking soda, salt, and peppermint flavor can all be purchased at your local Wal-Mart. Baking soda is around $1 a box, most should already have plenty of salt, and the wintergreen flavoring is in the arts and crafts section of Wal-Mart; 2 small bottles for $2. I was unable to find glycerin at Wal-Mart and ended up finding some at Rite-Aid. It was around $4 for a bottle, which brings the total price up to around $7. For $7 worth of ingredients and a couple minutes of your time to mix it up, the ingredients will last you months. I have been making it for around 3 months now and I'm still using the $7 worth of ingredients I purchased when I started.

I got this recipe from There are a lot of other great recipes for homemade products on their site including a good mouthwash recipe.

Here is a picture of my ingredients, and what the toothpaste looks like. For best results, use a butter knife to spread it on your toothbrush and keep it sealed in an airtight container.



Make your own lip balm for cold sores

1 oz. Emu Oil
1 oz. Almond Oil
1 oz. Avocado Oil
1/2 oz. Shaved Beeswax or Beeswax Pellets
1/4 oz. Aloe Vera Gel
6 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
2 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
3 Drops Lime Essential Oil

Mix the almond, avocado, emu oil and beeswax together in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave for a couple of minutes or until the mixture is completely melted.
(Bowl may also be heated in a pan of water on a stovetop).
Stir the mixture often until the wax is melted.
Add the aloe Vera gel.
Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils.
Stir again and set aside to cool completely.
When cool, transfer into small portable plastic containers or tins.
I generally find my ingredients at our local health food store but if you cannot find them near you, I'm sure you can find them on eBay.

Original at

Is Chap Stick a Survival necessity?

By Joseph Parish

Many people often pose the question of whether Chap Stick should be included in our first aid kits or survival packs and I repetitively respond “yes”. In addition to the customary lip use there are other lesser recognized uses as well.

We are all familiar with the lip use for this product. I prefer to stock the miniature, individual sticks in my first aid kit and bug out bags. These are very economical if you pick them up at the Dollar store. You will likely get 3 for $1.00. They come in an assortment of flavors such as chocolate, etc.

In areas of intense bitter temperatures you can wipe the Chap Stick on your facial areas to help conserve and sustain your body heat.

As a lubricant it is just great. You can use it on your fire bow or anywhere that you would need to use as petroleum based grease. It can be used just as you would use any type of Petroleum Jelly when wanting to fuel a fire. Merely rub it on a small segment of cloth or perhaps a cotton ball from your first aid kit or even some type of natural tinder and you are set to go. Since I stash a complete bag of cotton balls in my larger first aid kit this is ideal.

In the event that you develop a small leak in your tent and do not have anything to seal it with you can always use the Chap Stick to accomplish a quick and temporary fix. It also works great on any other products that you would need to waterproof in an emergency.

As you can see you can use this “neat” invention for a vast number of different purposes. If you sit down for a few moments I am sure you will come up with a lot more interesting and imaginative ideas also.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


How to Eat Scorpions for Survival

Eat scorpions to survive. The bad news--that just sounds nasty. The good news--scorpions can be found in many environments, forests, caves, grass, deserts, so chances are you can find them. But to eat them you've got to hunt at night. Unless you're lucky you won't see them during the day.

Step 1 Find scorpion holes. During the day search your area for shady little niches close to the ground, lips beneath sticks or small protruding rocks or even exposed tree roots. Look for small holes just below the lips.

Step 2 Dig another hole. Right below the scorpion's hole, scoop out a shallow hole in the ground and place an open mouthed container like a jar, cup, soda can, whatever you can find inside the newly dug hole. The trick is to place it so that when the scorpion comes out at night, it will drop right into your cup and can't climb out of the smooth side.

Step 3 Go get a good night's rest. In the morning, check your traps and hopefully you will have caught enough scorpions for a filling breakfast.

Step 4 Skewer the scorpions with a sharp thin stick or sturdy weed. Scorpion stings are very venomous. Skewer the scorpions through their sides while they are still in the cup or jar. Use two sticks for easier manipulation.

Step 5 Lift the skewered scorpions out of the jar and hold down against the ground or a rock. Keep out of reach of the venomous curling tail and cut off and discard the tail. You don't want to eat that.

Step 6 Cook over the hot coals until they are nice and brown, almost blackened, Cajun style.

Step 7 They are somewhat gritty so eat them fast. Don't think about it. This is for survival.

Warnings and Tips: Another way to eat scorpions is to dunk them in wine, cut off the stringer and poison sac. They are supposed to taste like raw shrimp. They can also be fried.

Original at:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Storing your home Emergency supply of water

By Joseph Parish

We all can appreciate the fact that we must stockpile a adequate supply of water for our families use during any emergency condition. This is generally an straightforward chore if you approach the problem in a suitable manner.

Water can typically be stored in any type of portable or permanent container. These containers can be constructed of just about any type of substance ranging from plastic to glass. Used plastic milk cartons, bleach containers or even empty mason jars make outstanding storage vessels. You must however ensure that the container which you decide to use has never been employed for holding any type of fuel or toxic ingredient. Once you have found one wash it well with soap and water. Make certain that when you store the water you place a label on it signifying it as water and the date that you stored it.

Large qualities of water can be stored in a backyard swimming pool or in some sort of underground tank. Once again if you use a tank make sure it was not previously used for any toxic products. You would do well to try and find containers which can be stacked one on top of another since as in any storage location space is a premium. A hand pump of some sort is a good investment as five gallon containers can become extremely heavy when you try to pour yourself a glass of water.

A safe period of time to store water is usually 3 to 6 months maximum. Even then you will want to properly condition the water to prevent harmful bacteria from forming in it. Here are several ways that you can accomplish this as I will demonstrate below.

Bleach is an excellent way to render the bacteria harmless. Place approximately 8 drops of bleach in one gallon of water or if using a five gallon container put in ½ teaspoon. A quick rule of thumb is to let your container of water sit for about 30 minutes at which time if you can smell the chorine in the water it is safe to store otherwise you may need to retreat it.

Another method of canning water is by use of heat. In this method you would fill clean, sterile jars to within an inch of the top of the Mason jar. Place the jars in a pressure cooker for approximately 5 minutes or you can put them into a boiling water bath for 20 to 30 minutes. When you process water this way the water will be useable for many years. Inspect the jars yearly to ensure that the deals have not been broken.

Water should be stored in a cool location. Never let your water freeze as it will likely break the container if it does. Sample the water every three months and if it has a flat taste don’t get too excited as this taste is a result of the air being depleted in the water. Merely shake the container a few times to mix air in it. This will more then likely make the water as good as it was the day you bottled it.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


The ultimate fire safety device

By Joseph Parish

When evaluating the likelihood of installing fire escape ladders you are presented with two viable choices. You can install permanent fire escape steps to the outside of your home which has certain disadvantages. I would caution you greatly on this decision. Permanent steps are a sure invitation for burglars and others who may mean to harm you. In addition the initial cost is considerably more then using the portable rope ladder. The rope version is probably your best bet but you will have to instruct those who will use it in its proper operation.

It isn’t necessary to be residing in high rise apartment buildings in order to make good use of fire escape ladders. I live in a single floor home and we have some very strange windows that sit near the top of the ceiling. They are barely large enough for a body to climb through however, it is important that during an escape attempt that the person be able to get to the window as well as to descend on the other side. This is especially critic for a small child who could never jump high enough to reach the top.

Smoke detectors and alarms can only provide so much protection and then you must take the situation into your own hands in order to ensure the safety of your loved ones. One such measure that can be accomplished very simply is the use of fire safety ladders. Rarely do you ever hear mentioned that one of these inexpensive devices should be included in every home safety kit. In fact if you check the kits inventory listed on the net you will quickly discover no mention what so ever of these important devices.

These simple devices can be ready made and purchased over the counter or if you are handy with tools you can craft a fire safety ladder yourself at home. You would need to be well versed in making knots in heavy rope. After you have made one or two of them it is important that you instruct your young children in the proper use of these safety devices. Show them how they can use them to either get to the window or to descend to the other side. This would be a very good time to make sure that the window opens easily and that your child is able to open it as well. Paint build up on windows make it extremely hard for an adult to open let alone a small child. Don’t take anything for granted.

It takes very little time for a fire to completely take over a residence so time in this case is critical. Test and retest your child on these procedures until you are certain that in the event of an emergency they could very well accomplish the task at hand – saving themselves. Keep in mind that when the window is opened the added oxygen will quickly provide a boast to the flames and smoke which are engulfing the room so you must stress the importance of quick actions on the part of your child. It would only be a matter of a few minutes before the smoke prevents the child from seeing what he or she is doing and then panic will set in.

Make sure that a meeting point has been established outside the home and that your child knows that when they escape the flaming home that they are to gather at the meeting point for other members of the family.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

For a PDF Version of this article to keep in your library click here


The Definition of Survival Food

By Joseph Parish

Continually I stress that everyone should have a survival kit made up and ready for any sort of emergency that Mother Nature or fellow man can toss our way. I continually relate how this kit should contain certain essential emergency supplies as well as a selection of survival foods.

The question that I am asked by many people is just what survival foods are. They always ask if they must spend thousands of dollars for prepared packages of #10 cans or the military MRE packs. My immediate response is a loud “No”.

The strict definition of survival foods are just that - they are food which is placed in your kits or packs for use in survival situations. No where in the definition do you hear the words MRE or #10 cans. Most people who have followed any of my survival articles know that I propose using the supermarket canned foods as much as possible.

I like to stock up on foods which can be eaten directly out of the can if possible although I have an abundant supply of heatable canned food as well. Instant foods are one of my favorites for survival situations. The phrase “Just add water” holds very true to my survival intentions. Dehydrated foods have a good place in the backpacks and trunks of bug out vehicles when you think in terms of survival.

Of course this method of thinking makes storage of sufficient supplies of water all the more important. You must then not only have enough water for your family to drink but also for re-constituting your dried foods.

In all honestly I must admit that the dehydrated #10 cans of food are actually cheaper on the budget in the long run but their initial cost is greater as well. I have found that if you first stock up on supermarket canned foods and use what you store then you can slowly purchase the #10 cans of dehydrated foods. In this manner you save your budget from taking a beating.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

For a PDF Version of this article to keep in your library Click here


Using Honey and Corn Syrup in Jelly

University of Minnesota

On a one-to-one basis, neither light, mild honey nor corn syrup can substitute fully for sugar.

Honey can replace part of the sugar in recipes for jelly and related products, but not all of it. Products made with honey will have a darker color than those made with sugar as the only sweetening. The flavor, of course, will be slightly different.

Light, mild-flavored honey is best to use when making jelly. Consider its liquid content when it replaces part of the sugar in a recipe.

If you make jelly and add pectin, up to one cup honey can replace an equal amount of granulated sugar. For recipes that do not call for added pectin, honey can still replace up to half the sugar that is needed.

You may also use corn syrup to make jelly. Once again, consider its liquid content. In products made with no pectin, corn syrup can replace up to 1/4 the sugar. When you use powdered pectin, corn syrup can replace up to 1/2 the sugar. With liquid pectin, corn syrup can replace only up to 2 cups sugar per batch of jelly.

For future reference, you may want to obtain a copy of Extension bulletin HE-172, "Jellies, Jams and Preserve," which is available at your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

Original at: Unknown

Green Tea Information

By Joseph Parish

Many people are completely taken back by the suggestion that all tea originates from the same plant - Camellia Sinensis. The fashionable Green tea is actually the outcome of vigilantly curing young camellia leaf by a multiplicity of different methods and by using varied amounts of heat in the preparation. In some countries you will discover that some types of green tea are cured with ovens comparable to those found in the home and surprisingly a few are actually pan fried in what appears to resemble a giant wok known in the industry as a ding.

The longer and the slower that the tea is cured the richer you will find the flavor of the finished tea. You could expend many hours searching for a green tea in China as that is a country of hundreds of diverse green teas. There is merely one style of tea prepared in China that uses a slower drying process then the green tea and that is the rare yellow tea. Now I would once again like to remind you that all teas including the green and the yellow use the same plant – the difference in them is the curing time.

The final products are characterized by their appearances as well as their province of origin. Usually the visual indications of the quality related to the various teas rest upon the size of the tea leaves. Generally, in this case bigger is not necessarily better as the higher quality teas actually have the smaller leaves.

Since powdered teas known as fanning, are the left over residue from the various tea processes it is naturally the cheapest of the tea. This powdered tea tends to seep quickly when placed in teabags, however since the surface of the tea has increased it stands a larger chance of oxidizing with the surrounding air. It is this reason that your higher quality green teas are never ground up. The best green tea that you can find is usually maintained in whole tea leave form; it is carefully packaged in airtight containers and preferably consumed within a two year period.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emergency communication tips

Additionally, AT&T provides the following communication tips for residents and small businesses to use before, during and after any emergency.

Maximizing Service During and After an Emergency:

During an emergency, more people are trying to use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion, leading to “fast busy” signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then try the call again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.

Try wireless text/short messaging service (SMS). During an emergency situation, text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls because they require less network resources. All of AT&T’s wireless devices are text messaging capable. Also, if you have a wireless data device such as an Apple iPhone or a BlackBerry® Smartphone, you can use its messaging capabilities to communicate. Depending on the call plan, additional charges may apply.

Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important ones. Chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.

Tips on Planning and Preparing Before an Emergency:

Consumer Tips:

Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know whom to contact if they become separated.

Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.

Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using your car charger or having extra mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.

Small Business Tips:

Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employees’ families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.

Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.

Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that emergencies affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.

Original at:

Slugs in your Garden

By Joseph Parish

It will not be long now as everyone is rapidly getting energized about their projected garden. Here in Delaware all we can do at this time is plan. We could perhaps prepare our garden soils but as far as placing any plants outside at this time it is still a bit cool.

My wife has begun various vegetables indoors in an attempt to get them into the ground and allow them to be as productive as they can in a short period of time. We used the Aero-grow this year for starting most of our veggies. It appears that they have a generic growing insert that you can place your own seeds into. It was a little disappointing but that's another story.

As soon as we place our plants in the open we have to seriously consider several other problem areas. That consideration is centered on the various pests which seem to enjoy our garden as much as we do. One of the major pests is the slug. Out of all the damaging creatures associated with a garden perhaps the slug is considered the worse of them all. These annoying organisms seem to thrive under most high moisture environments and are some of the most difficult creatures to get under control. You will find them ready to feast out shortly after a spring rainfall. Slugs are often times difficult to detect as they tend to hide in the daytime when it is warm and dry but they appear in the evenings when the air is moist. The slug population depends upon the water content that is in your garden therefore the most effective method for reducing or eliminating slugs is by simply reducing the moisture around the garden but let's face it - we have to water our plants do we not?

Several means by which the home gardener can control these pests is listed in this article. The first is by use of Metaldehyde baits. Although these chemicals can possibly provide a measure of control they must be carefully applied as well as used at the proper time. Metaldehyde is generally sold as a granular type of bait or as a gel or paste. Most of these products are labeled for use with flower gardens. You should not apply this chemical directly to your vegetables or edible crops. If you have pets that roam outdoors this chemical can cause a very agonizing death.

You can find an alternative to Metaldehyde which uses an iron phosphate base as its active ingredient. This is generally sold under the name of Sluggo, Esca-Go or Slug Magic. Iron phosphate products can safely be used around your edible crops.

Usually slugs are attracted to any type of fermenting products such as beer. You can readily purchase commercially manufactured slug traps which use a similar method of fermentation material to capture the pests. However, it is not necessary to purchase these traps when you can just as easily make your own.

If you wish to try your luck at slug trap making here is the simplest that it gets. Use the plastic 12 ounce soda or water bottles and place either a little bit of beer in the bottom or some commercial slug bait into it. Lay the bottles on their sides and slightly bury them so that the mouth of the bottle is perfectly level with the ground. The slugs should be able to make their way into the bottles without difficulty. After you have captured the slugs you will merely need to toss the bottle into the trash. If you are using slug bait as opposed to beer make sure that you wet it a bit. Sluggo appears to be the most effective bait to use in these bottle traps.

Alternately you could sink some old pie pans or any type of shallow containers into the ground and place some beer in them. The slugs will be attracted to the beer and will crawl into the pans and drown.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


Benefits of Turmeric

By Joseph Parish

If you are like most people you take pleasure in an occasional romp in the kitchen tossing this and tossing that together into a graceful combination which smoothly caresses your palates as you consume you evening meal. I too enjoy creating previously unknown delicacies for our evening meals. I guess in that case we both may be familiar with the spice known as turmeric. Many cooks, chefs and most of the general public do not realize the many health benefits which we can derive from the use of turmeric. I would like to share a few of these points with you at this time but keep in mind due to space requirements I can not possibly cover all the various aspects.

Turmeric is a root derived spice that originates from vegetation which is comparable to the common ginger plant. In preparation the root of this plant is dried and ground into a fine powder. Turmeric is a spice that is predominantly popular in India and some Asian countries. In a few areas of the world it is employed as a dye which imparts a beautiful, deep, brownish-yellow color.

As a health related product its reputation more then likely originates from its active component known as curcumin. Turmeric can be readily found in health food stores in tea form, as a powder or as an easy to swallow liquid. A few of the potential health benefits relating to this spice are as follows:

Turmeric has a natural anti-inflammatory character which has shown to be extremely beneficial when used in treating rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Its antiseptic properties permit it to be used successfully as a wound treatment. It is used as an agent in treating eczema, psoriasis or other inflamed skin conditions.

Current research seems to indicate a potential use for treating Alzheimer's disease. For some reason it has been found that Turmeric removes the amyloid plaque which settles within the brain, This process could very well help physicians reduce the progression of this dreaded disease and possibly in time prevent it completely.

On a more down to earth issue, the spice derivative has been recognized as a means of preventing and possibly treating various cancer types. When the user teams turmeric up with the cancer fighting properties of cauliflower the duo has been reported to halt the spread of prostate cancer while as a companion with onions it combats colon cancer.

Turmeric is a liver detoxifier and as such tends to improve the functions associated with the liver. The Curcumin contained within the Turmeric helps greatly towards lowering ones cholesterol level. It is recorded in Ayuredic and Chinese medicines that Turmeric functions as an aid to proper body digestion as well as preventing various problems that could lead to heart failure. To those who may have already experienced such various heart related difficulties Turmeric can assist in prevent the buildup of scar tissue as well as aiding towards repairing any damage that has previously occurred.

As you can readily see there are many health related issues that can be either prevented or remedied by the continual use of this unique and amazing spice.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


The Urban Survival Belt

By V-Shrake

Now, don't you wish that you could have an ultimate fall-back, a kit that is with you at all times?

With the planning and foresight that should be the hallmark of the dedicated survivalist, you can.

As you have no doubt gathered from previous articles, I believe strongly in doing everything possible to improve our chances of survival. This means vigilance (watching for potentially dangerous situations), diligence (things could go wrong any time, anywhere), and perseverance (do whatever it takes to stay alive).

To complement the above, having the proper gear is a serious boost to having the proper mind-set.

In accordance with my "Layering" principle, I feel strongly that you should have a minimum of gear with you at all times, in all situations, even in your everyday life. What I call my "Bat Utility Belt" could, more realistically, be termed an Urban Survival Belt.

Just as Batman always seemed to have the proper gear on hand to fit any occasion or villain, we should strive to do the same. While it is impossible to determine what might be needed in a mostly hypothetical situation, certain things need to be addressed.


We may be injured, or those around us may require medical assistance.

Food and water may be scarce, or contaminated.

Our fellow survivors may not be in a terribly charitable mood.

We may lose power, or have to move underground or at night.

We may have to provide our own shelter.

Basic tools will improve our chances of survival.

All of these are reasonable assumptions, based on observation and past experience, and would apply whether in the event of an earthquake, nuclear incident, or abduction by little gray men. My point is this: as long as we're alive, we're going to have the same basic requirements as on any other day.

When we consider that in today's world seemingly random violence surrounds us, terrorism is on an upswing, and there is no way to tell when the next earthquake, tornado, or flood might hit, it behooves us to follow the old Boy Scout adage of "Be Prepared".

As survivalists (or at least potential survivalists, assuming we do everything right), we might be missing a very important aspect of our preparedness: our everyday lives.

Of course we try to stay healthy, don't cross against the lights, and obey most of the traffic laws most of the time; but beyond that, how does your life stand up under the scrutiny of staying alive when everyone around you is dying?

Certainly, if we were to be at home when disaster strikes, we'd be sitting pretty. We would have access to all of that wonderful gear we've spent many paychecks purchasing, just in case the unthinkable happens. Now it has, and we're ready to start surviving.

But, wait a moment. As usual, Life has dealt us an unfair hand. Instead of being at home, or in our shelter or whatever, we were at work, or running errands, or picking up the kids from school. Even survivalists have lives outside of their bomb-shelter, and the odds are that disasters won't come at a convenient time.

"Not to worry", you say, "I took the precaution of stocking the car with a complete survival kit." Very good, except that your car is in the shop today, or buried under tons of rubble, or a vicious gang of rioters is busily disputing your property rights.

Whatever the reason, you are cut off from both your primary and secondary source of supplies. We just have to recognize what those requirements are, and then provide for them.

Since we survivalists pride ourselves on being able to get by without outside assistance (indeed, crave that autonomy), we must understand that survival situations aren't limited to the great outdoors. Just because it all comes crashing down on us while we're inside city limits doesn't mean we don't have to take care of ourselves. The fact is that we need to be even more self-reliant in such straits.

Just as we've always known, the police can't do a damn thing to protect you, even when things are "normal". Now imagine the confusion and conflicting orders resulting from a major catastrophe. Even better than imagining, just think back to the latest riots, or other recent calamity.

Even worse than no police presence, there will likely be no city services-type amenities: a phone to check on your family, no water, and no power, overworked or non-existent Red Cross workers. You would have to deal with most of these problems in a wilderness misadventure, certainly, but at least in the mountains all you have to worry about is playing tag with the bears. In almost any city today, the greatest danger is your fellow commuter. Don't count on the milk of human kindness, because it won't be flowing for some time, if ever again. Make plans to take care of yourself, and be ready at a moment's notice to divest yourself of society's "aid".

But how to do this?

First off, let's look at our list of assumptions, and how to provide for them.

Assumption Resolutions:

A basic med-kit will cover most non life-threatening injuries.

Carry at least a little food and water with you at all times.

A folding fighting knife, a type becoming more popular everyday, is both a tool and provides self-defense.

Even if you're a dedicated non-smoker, you should still carry matches or a lighter.

Dress properly for the season, and think ahead to night-time temperatures; don't sacrifice utility to fashion or comfort.

In addition to your folding fighting knife, consider carrying a Swiss Army knife or one of the many excellent mini-tools now on the market; once you start carrying one of these little pocket tool chests, you'll use it daily, I guarantee.

Now that we've identified the most-likely problems, and covered the basics of solving them, I'll tell you what I carry, and how I carry it. This is stuff that I take with me whenever I'm away from the house, no matter how short the duration may be. For all I know, the excrement may hit the oscillating air-circulatory device while I'm in town to get the mail; I want to be ready!

By "Basic med-kit", I mean just that: what you envision needing to cover minor, everyday types of injuries. We won't have room for an entire ER, and don't need one. Assuming that you have been lucky and received only light bumps and bruises, a few band aids and the like will see you through.

Figuring on stores to be closed or downright dangerous to get to is a good bit of foresight. Likewise, don't depend on the water fountains to give forth a cool, refreshing spray whenever you're thirsty. I carry a half-quart canteen with me, full, at all times. Adding one drop of Clorox bleach to it kills all micro-organisms for about six months, at which time I re-stock. For food, I carry one MR-8 bar, which is basically the same thing as Coast Guard rations, only in a much smaller package. You don't get as much, but it fits into this type of kit much better. Unfortunately, they no longer make this product, but you could get almost the same low-bulk, high calorie content from BTU STOKERTM Energy Bars, which are sold by Brigade Quartermasters, the same outfit that used to sell MR-8's. Call them at 1-800-(338)-4327, and ask them to send you a catalog. They have all sorts of neat stuff. And, mainly as a nod to completeness, I carry an emergency fishing kit and snare wire. While you may not use either within the confines of the city, your first priority should be to get out! Out in the countryside, they should come in handy.

For personal protection, and daily utility, I carry an SOG company SOGWinder, a fairly large folding-fighter with a thumb opening stud. The stud is mainly what denotes a folding-fighter from other lock back knives, and is a worthwhile feature. It makes it much easier, as well as faster, to open your blade. Also, get a knife with a stout (thick) blade. This little honey is going to be doing everything from gutting and skinning wee beasties to possibly defending your life; choose wisely. Avoid fixed-blade knives, as most of the good ones will either be too large to carry daily (and discreetly), or will be illegal in your locale. For the same reason, don't carry a gun, unless you're lucky enough to have a CCW. Even if you can carry legally, you will still have to have a good knife for all of the things a gun can't do. While a firearm is most often a better choice for personal protection, most of us can't avail ourselves of this option. Additionally, knives are more versatile. So don't give the local constabulary a reason to come down on you, because we'll all have problems enough in the near future.

What you can do, as soon as the dust clears from whatever little setback you're encountering, is to find a good stick. Something around five or six feet long, and about an inch-and-a-half to two inches thick. It will help you to navigate rubble, as well as rabble. Just ask Little John.

One of Man's proudest moments, indeed one of the very things that make us sapient beings, is our mastery of fire. Don't give up this victory of our forebears in times of crisis: carry matches! Fire gives a sense of community and security that few other substances can equal. It's also an extremely useful tool. In the survivalist's arsenal, fire and knives are about equal in importance, and neither should be ignored. Fire is light in times of darkness, heat on a cold night, and makes hamburgers much more palatable.

Just as you provide yourself with the means to make fire when times are rough, you should carry a good mini flashlight. They both should be an integral part of a well-thought-out kit. I carry a Mini-Maglite with extra batteries and bulbs, strike-anywhere matches, a Bic lighter, solid fuel bars, and a couple of cyalume snap-lights. These items take up little space, but provide inestimable aid when needed.

If you were unlucky enough to be caught away from home when it all went bad, where would you sleep? Could you stay warm if the buildings around you were destroyed? These wouldn't be problems if you had thought ahead, trying to out-guess cruel Fate. A Mylar sheet or sleeping bag, such as I carry, provides a high level of thermal efficiency. That's a high-fluting' way of saying that Mylar (a space-age fabric developed to provide insulation for NASA) keeps you warm. It also takes up very little space. If possible, try to be dressed for temperature variations; wearing the proper clothes for the climate will go a long way to keeping you alive.

The last items in my kit are the ones that often see the most use: a Leatherman pocket tool and a genuine Swiss Army knife from Victorinox. While these two little knives won't replace a real tool chest, you will have them on you at all times, and they are amazingly versatile.

Carrying this gear doesn't require you to herniate yourself, or look out of place to all the herd animals around you. Women have it particularly good in this respect, as they are always carrying a purse. To be honest, most of the purses I've seen women lugging around would provide a week's worth of goodies, even without adding dedicated survival gear. Men will find it a bit more difficult to carry their stuff discretely, but it is possible. As I intimated earlier, I carry my kit in a belt loaded with black nylon pouches of various sizes. None are terribly "martial" in appearance, and I rarely draw a second glance. That's partly due to the fact that I live in the sticks, and partly because of the sudden popularity of fanny packs, a cross-over from runners and bike riders. In casual clothes, even multiple pouches such as I make use of blend in nicely; a standard fanny pack, if you can find one large enough to carry everything, would be even less remarkable to the general populace.

Those of you who spend a good amount of time in suits are on you own. I can think of nothing that would fit in with that mode of dress that would allow you to carry anything worthwhile. Some "Suits", such as a friend of mine, can't even carry a pocket knife on them, due to corporate policy, so I guess it doesn't matter that there's no really discrete way for him to carry an urban kit.

Another possibility is a small ruck or book bag, such as seen on virtually every college and high school campus. Perhaps the business world's equivalent, the briefcase, would work in some instances. That may be an answer to those of you destined to pass your lives in wool and gabardine, but it means you'll have to carry your kit like a piece of luggage. I prefer to have my hands free. Another bad thing about both rucks and briefcases is the fact that you have to remember to pick them up; a belt is something that you wear, and take off only occasionally. On the other hand, a ruck would allow you to carry more, and add items that you've managed to scrounge.

There you have it, something else to consider in your quest to remain a jump ahead of bad times. You may come up with a different list of "essentials" than I did, you may even come up with a carry mode that works better in your environment. Whatever you carry and however you carry it, at least by having it with you your chances of survival just went up.

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Survivalists 6th sense

By Joseph Parish

Our ancestors survived violent times by using their intuition and what many of them classified as “gut feelings”. Regrettably over the years we have been taught to reason in a rational and systematic manner and to suppress any initiate feelings that may surface. These same feelings that we restrain could possibly save our lives in an emergency. As part of our survival training it is vital that we bring these feelings back to the surface and nurture them once again. We have to effectively become one with our surroundings and reunite with in order to know what is going on.

As a teenager I would be more or less guided by these strange feelings in just about everything that I did. I often found that it was these very feelings which kept me safe when situations turned nasty. Every time that I was in some type of circumstance where things did not feel right I let my instinct take over and usually that ended up to be the wiser choice. My gut feeling generally provided ample feelings of impending danger.

After I had experienced situations such as these I would sit and try to analyze them. I would attempt to digest all the information from the very first action to the end results. I always wanted to know how I knew to act in a particular manner or why I sensed a feeling of danger. In regards to my responses I wondered if I had made the proper decisions and what I could have done better. I really wondered if I was on the verge of paranoia or had I developed the ability to sense dangerous situations before they occurred. Clues became very important for feeding additional information into my gut feeling. Simple little clues such as a persons clothing, their mannerism, etc. All these things contribute to how my psychic perceives the situation and whether a danger exists.

I eventually grow to accept this feeling and upon doing additional research realized that everyone has the ability and it has only been suppressed by our educational process. The key here is to listen to your own gut feeling when you have any sort of doubt involving your safety or decisions that you must make. Once you feel that instinct follow it as it is usually right. This point is the most important lesson that I can give to you - listen to your intuition. The inner voice will not lead you astray. This amazing ability to listen to our 6th sense allows us to avoid danger in some of the most unusual situations.

A wise man once stated that "A fight which is avoided is a fight that is won." I fully support this premise. Listen to your inner voice and win the fight in the long run. The outcome of any physical confrontation is of dubious conclusion. It could effectively go in either direction – you can win or you can lose. However, by using your senses and becoming aware of your surroundings you can always win.

As a survivalist we must develop this awareness and use our senses to listen to our inner voice.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Individual Preparedness Efforts Necessary

With recent flooding taking place in Fargo, along with snowstorms in the Midwest and Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the South the need for planning in advance of a disaster should be very apparent. This planning is not only important for individuals and families within their homes but also for schools and places of business.

Business owners need to give thought to what would happen if their building was destroyed or in a danger zone where they could not get to it to conduct business. What plans do they have in place to preserve vital records? What plans are in place to allow customers and clients to contact them during a disaster? These are just some of the questions businesses need to think about and plan for.

Individuals and families need to prepare as well. Having a NOAA All-hazards Radio is a big part of the preparation process. Having a plan that addresses where to meet if disaster strikes, who to contact if family members become separated from each other, and escape routes from your home in events such as a fire is extremely important. These are not the only issues to consider but they are part of the process in being prepared for disaster. The thought of such events as floods, tornadoes, or hazardous materials spills is not a pleasant one but having plans in place in advance of the event will make coping with such events more successful.

As part of the preparedness and planning process you should become familiar with your neighborhood. Know who your neighbors are and be aware of any special needs they may have which you may be able to provide help with in an emergency. Designate a relative or friend in another area as a point of contact in case your family becomes separated in a disaster. This will give everyone in the family a place to check in and receive information about the whereabouts of other family members and hopefully provide some peace of mind in what would be a very stressful time. Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your home and vehicle. This kit should contain such items as drinking water, non perishable food, flashlights and batteries. Other things to include would be blankets, matches, and a portable radio. Important papers and records should be stored in a secure and safe place to protect them. More information is available on what should be included in these kits by visiting .

It is the responsibility of all of us to be prepared for disasters and plan ahead. This is true for individuals and families as much as it is for business and industry. A few steps taken in preparing can make a huge difference if disaster strikes. Have a plan and practice the plan to achieve successful results.

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