build a teepee

Survival Shelter: How To Make A Teepee

completed teepeeTo assemble rapidly a teepee shelter you need to have the following items:

  • rain poncho or tarp,
  • hand axe or knife,
  • at least 3 saplings or branches 1.5-2 meters long,
  • rope

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Cross one of the samplings ends over another and lash together loosely.
  2. Lash the third sapling to the others loosely. The poles should stand on their own by forming a tripod as soon as they are secured with each other.
  3. Set up the tripod so that the saplings are evenly spaced.
  4. Add more saplings to make a more compact structure.
  5. Cut some pine boughs and bundle grasses utilizing rope, lasth these bundles to the saplings. Pine boughs if laid with the needles pointing down will shed water.
  6. teepee skeletonPlace your poncho or tarp over the sides, covering the peak.
  7. Bundle much more pine or grasses and place them on the floor inside the teepee to provide an insulating ground cover.
5 Ways To Preserve Your Herbs

5 Ways To Preserve Your Herbs

5 Ways To Preserve Your HerbsYou can store herbs in several ways: drying, freezing, tinctures or glycerites, oils and vinegars.

Your desired use will determine the way you preserve them:

  • Drying is perfect for teas.
  • Freezing offers fresh tastes even during the cold winter.
  • Tinctures or glycerites are great tonics if you want an immunity enhance.
  • Oils and vinegars are full of the minerals and vitamins from the herbs, not captured in the tinctures and may be used in your cooking.

Drying Herbs

Hang herbs upside down in a dry, dark, well-ventilated location. Attics are ideal for this. Put a paper bag around them to avoid dust.
Put them in a jar once they are dry. Use a glass container, not plastic and place away from direct sunlight or heat. Your basement or a closet is perfect.

Freezing Herbs

Freezing can be achieved in 2 ways:

  • Clean and dry the fresh herbs and put on a cookie sheet in the freezer. When they are frozen, place them in freezer bags. A few herbs may turn brown or dark after freezing, but the flavor remains preserved.
  • Another way is to mix the herbs in some water or oil and freeze in ice cube trays. Employ 2 cups washed leaves to 1 ½ cups water or 6 cups leaves to ½ cup oil. Freeze then place in freezer bags. Just add the cubes to your recipes.

Tinctures

You can make tinctures with alcohol or vegetable glycerin, which is technically a glycerite.

Alcohol should be 80-100 proof. Use fresh herbs if you can ,. The ratio is 1:2 for fresh, i.e. 50g of fresh herb per 100g of menstruum. The ratios for dried are 1:5, i.e. 50g of dried herb for 250g of menstruum.

Put the herbs in a jar, cover completely with the liquid and cap. Place in a cool, dark place – back to the basement, for 4-6 weeks shaking daily. Always label your tinctures with the date. When done, strain the herbs off with gauze and bottle the liquid.

Normally ½ to 1 teaspoon, 3 times a day is a good dosage. As with anything medicinal, if you see an allergic reaction like rash, trouble breathing etc., cease use immediately.

Oil Infusion

Herb infused oils are fantastic to employ in cooking, but also if you want to make a salve or ointment, you already have the base ready. They’re also perfect for massage or liniments.

Only use fresh virgin olive oil. Fill a jar ¾ full of fresh chopped herbs. Put oil to cover the herbs to ¼ inch below the jar top. Put a piece of gauze over the jar top and secure with the metal ring. This will let the moisture to escape and keep the oil from becoming rancid. Place in a warm, sunny location for a minimum of 14 days, stirring daily. After you have let the oil steep, strain off the herbs and cap. Store in a cool, dark location.

Vinegars

Tincturing draws out the therapeutic properties of herbs, but not the minerals and vitamins. The best choice is to use raw, organic apple cider vinegar. Always use fresh herbs. Lightly position the herbs in a jar, don’t jam. Cover with vinegar and top with a plastic lid. If you haven’t one, put some plastic wrap over the jar and screw down the lid. Label your jar with the date. Shake daily for 6 weeks. Strain and store. Use to marinate meats, fish, vegetables, or on your salads or take as a tonic, ¼ tsp at a time.

Using A Fishing Spear

How To Make A Fishing Spear

How To Make A Fishing SpearThe easiest method of obtaining food is by fishing. You can make a fishing spear by cutting a small sapling and employing several pieces of wire to fashion a pronged fishing spear. Sharpened wooden spears even though they work often crush smaller fish, which ends up in losing the fish.

How To Make A Fishing Spear - ProngsCut 3 or 4, 15 cm pieces of wire and using another section of wire to secure the pieces to the end of stick between 1.5 and 2 meters long. This provides you with a pronged end that will pierce and secure the fish with no damage to edible parts.

You can divide the end of the stick and put in the wire for a better hold. Wrap wire around the split end to secure the prongs in place. How To Make A Fishing Spear - Wrist CordageAttach the spear to your wrist with sufficient cordage to keep from losing the spear after thrusting.

Chamomile

The Amazing Health Properties of Chamomile

Chamaemelum nobile, Asteraceae, Roman Camomile...
Roman Camomile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chamomile is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs. This daisy-like plant is characterized by its yellow disk flowers that are normally 1-3 cm wide each, and surrounded by white rays. It also features some linear feather-like leaves that are finely divided. This wonderful herb grows in populated areas in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

There are several species of chamomile. However, the ones that are mostly recognized for their medicinal value are the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and the German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). These two have some stark differences in their appearance. The Roman chamomile is a short, creeping plant that does not exceed 30 cm in height. On the other hand, the German chamomile can grow up to 60 cm tall, and has many stems hence more flowers. These flowers are smaller than those of the Roman chamomile. Another difference is that the Roman chamomile is a perennial plant while the German chamomile is an annual plant. However, the two of them have the same therapeutic benefits albeit these physical differences.

Echte Kamille (Matricaria recutita)
German chamomile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great thing about chamomile is that it blooms continuously from early summer to the start of the winter season. In fact, it blooms throughout the year in areas where there are no cold winters. This means that there is never a shortage of flowers.

Chamomile has very many health properties. First, it acts as a digestive tonic that is not only safe, but also gentle on the stomach. It is highly effective in dealing with bowel problems, vomiting, gas, indigestion and a host of other stomach issues. Chamomile is the only herb that can deal with acute or chronic gastric disorders and bowel diseases that are caused by hyper-excitability and nervousness. Its constituents contain sedative and antispasmodic agents that ease inflammation as well as nervous spasm in the digestive tract. These agents also help to expel gas, and boost the production of bile.

Chamomile is a great laxative with strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all skin inflammations that arise from fungal or bacterial infections, contact allergies and flea bites. These include things like hemorrhoids, plaques, conjunctivitis, skin dryness and psoriasis. An infusion of chamomile flowers makes a nice antimicrobial rinse that not only heals the skin but also soothes it, leaving behind a very nice feeling.

Chamomile has been used for generations as a sleep aid. It is a mild sedative with relaxing and soothing properties. Apart from humans, it can be fed to animals to cure a variety of anxiety-related or spasmodic problems. Being a sweet-tasting herb, which is soluble in water, chamomile is quite easy and safe to administer to animals. It usually recommended by vets before trying other stronger sedatives and antispasmodics.

Studies have shown that the antispasmodic, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects of chamomile have health benefits for diabetic and cancer patients. They also improve the oral mucous membrane and help wounds to heal faster. The sedative effects of this herb are highly effective in treating insomnia, nervousness, cramps, cold and fever. Additionally, chamomile has been shown to boost the health of patients with bladder problems, bronchitis, skin eruptions, cataplasms, swelling, back pain, jaundice, heatstroke, spleen and kidney problems.

Chamomile is a proven tonic, which strengthens and constricts smooth muscle tissues in the body, including the uterus, the bladder and the heart. It’s relaxing and tonic effects help to ease dental pain. It is also used as an appetite tonic before meals. Another dietary benefit of chamomile is expelling worms. Unlike other herbal wormers such as walnut hulls and wormwood, chamomile is completely non-toxic. However, it is not as effective as the other anthelmintics.

Preparation and administration

To prepare a cup of chamomile tea, you will need 2 tablespoonfuls of  flowers.

  • Boil the water, and then add the flowers.
  • Put it in a cup and cover it with a plate.
  • Leave it to infuse for around 12 minutes, after which it will be ready for consumption.
  • You can add a teaspoon of honey or lemon juice to taste, and for additional health benefits. Lemon juice boosts the cleansing process of the digestive system. It also helps to deal with flu.
Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Believe it or not, but you are actually able to work on improving your sense of smell and this is something that is often quite surprising to people. It can of course be useful in a number of situations and the following are a number of things that you can start doing straight away in order to start working on developing this particular sense.

The first thing you need to do is actually pay attention to your sense of smell as the more you use it the more trained your nose will become. Learn to identify things just by their smell and one particular exercise that is worth trying is to be blindfolded and work out what an item is just by smelling it.

Bloodhund na krajowej wystawie w Rybniku - Kam...
Bloodhound (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One exercise you should try to do in order to improve the sense is to pay attention to how cats and dogs sniff as they tend to use a series of short sniffs rather than a prolonged one and this is something that we often do ourselves. By taking their approach you will slowly increase your ability to actually pick up a scent much more easily, but do not expect to be turned into a bloodhound.

Pay attention to your environment as this is going to make a difference when it comes to your ability to pick up a scent. Look at using a humidifier in a room as the more moisture there is in the air the more moisture in your nose. This then means it is going to be more receptive to a scent; however, do not do this if there is a bad smell around as prolonged exposure to a bad smell is only going to numb the sense over time.

Apart from training your nose you should also try to avoid eating as much food that results in you creating more mucus as this will impair the sense and make it harder to distinguish different smells. This makes sense as you will have already noticed how things change when you have a head cold and this is due to congestion in the membranes of the nose which has an impact on the sense. Look at, therefore, cutting down on the amount of dairy products you eat, including ice cream and cheese as they can really promote a more stuffy sensation in your nose.

When looking at buying food try to use your nose more than your eyes so if you are walking past the bakery work out the bread that smells the most appealing and then look at sniffing out items that would go best with it. By doing this you are actually buying items your body is craving and it also strengthens the connection between smell and taste and you will be aware of how different food can be when your nose is blocked up. By understanding, and working on, the link between the two you can actually improve both senses at the same time with both being heightened as a result.

One pretty obvious way to improve the sense is to avoid any substance that has been shown to impair it in some way. Smoking is one thing to look at avoiding as is drinking as much alcohol due to the well known fact that as your blood alcohol levels begin to rise your ability to smell things decreases. Do also be warned that some medicine, especially that for colds, can also make a difference so do look for those items that contain a decongestant.

Finally, a lack of sense of smell, which has the medical term Hyposmia, can sometimes be attributed to low levels of zinc in your diet. You should, therefore, look at getting some more either through a supplement that you can take every day or by eating foods that are known to be high in the mineral. This means eating the likes of lentils, oysters, and pecans to name only a few examples or if you are taking the supplements, then try to make sure you are getting around 7mg of zinc per day.

So by doing the exercises mentioned above you should find that your sense of smell will start to improve. It does require some work, and for you to continue doing it, but you will begin to notice a gradual difference and will probably wish you had started the exercises earlier in life.

Ginger - Zingiber officinale

The Powerful Healing Properties of Ginger

English: A Ginger Plant (Zingiber officinale)....
Ginger Plant (Zingiber officinale). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is probably one of the most favorite cooking ingredients and medicines in the world. Ginger is a perennial herb that originates from China and India. For centuries, Asians having been using ginger root in cook and for therapeutic purposes. Asia, Australia, Jamaica, South America and the United States are some of the countries where different varieties of ginger are cultivated.

The ginger plant has delicate green leaves that resemble baby spinach, which are eaten in salads, but the true benefits of ginger come from the roots of the plant, known as rhizomes.

Health Properties of Ginger

  1. When it comes to aid digesting, ginger is probably the best herb because it has antispasmodic or carminative properties. Proteins are broken down by ginger, getting rid of bloating and gas from the intestines and stomach. It also helps the stomach digest fatty foods as well.
  2. As a result of the warming quality of ginger, circulation is improved and stimulated, and the muscles surrounding blood vessels are relaxed. This way, the flow blood throughout the body is facilitated.
  3. There is a lot of evidence that motion sickness can be prevented and treated with ginger, since the stomach is relaxed and the feeling of nausea is relieved by it.
  4. It has been demonstrated by studies that the absorption of cholesterol in the blood and liver is reduced by ginger, thus cholesterol levels are lowered. The levels of bad or LDL cholesterol in the body can be reduced with its extract and the risk of the development of heart disease is also reduced this way.
  5. The secretion of mucus can be stimulated by consuming ginger, which can soothe scratchiness in the throat and relieve cough.
  6. Ginger contains anti-fungal, anti-toxic and anti-viral properties, so it can be used to prevent and treat common cold.
  7. Ginger can help treat allergies because it acts as an antihistamine.
  8. Ginger can be used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of other muscular disorders because anti-inflammatory properties are displayed by it. The biosynthesis of prostaglandins, which is the main cause of inflammation, is inhibited by the chemical components of ginger.
  9. Since the secretion of mucus is promoted by ginger, ginger protects the stomach from the development of ulcers.
  10. Along with lowering cholesterol, the formation of blood clots is also prevented by it.
  11. Minor burns and skin irritations can be immediately relieved by applying fresh ginger juice.
  12. Arthritic pain can be reduced by applying ginger oil.
  13. Ginger oil also refreshes the mind, so it is used in saloons and spas.

How to use ginger?

Ingwer (Zingiber officinale)
Ingwer (Zingiber officinale) (Photo credit: blumenbiene)

To benefit from the health properties of ginger, fresh ginger should be chosen over dried ginger. Not only does fresh ginger taste superior, but it contains higher levels of its anti-inflammatory compound and gingerol. Fresh ginger is usually free of mold, with a smooth, fresh skin and with fewer joints and twists as possible.

Young and mature are the two forms of ginger that are generally available. The skin of mature ginger is tougher and needs to be peeled, while the skin of young ginger does not have to be peeled. Ginger can be julienne, minced or sliced. Ginger can also be brewed as a tea.

Take advantage of ginger

Ginger is used as a flavoring for various culinary preparations and so, this is the most common way of having ginger and benefiting from its health properties. Ginger can be used to prepare ginger ale, ginger beer, gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger cake, ginger cookies, ginger tea and a lot more. Thus, ginger is one of the most renowned herbs with some remarkable health properties, and above all, it is easy to find and easy to consume.

Pine Pollen

An Excellent Food: Pine Pollen

TPine Pollenhe pine pollen anthers are the small, yellow or light green mini cones that grow in the spring and early summer. Usually they are covered with a bright yellow-colored dust.
They are an excellent source of food since they’re full of nutrients and healthy proteins.

Frequently you will see a yellow dust on vehicles that are left under pine trees, or you will see a yellow area of dust over the road. These signs will inform you that the pollen season is started. Try collecting some pollen any time you can and taste a pinch: it’s very palatable!

You can collect the pollen anthers or it is possible to shake the pine pollen out by tapping it into a container such as cloth bag, tightly woven basket or bowl. In regions with plenty of pines, you can gather it quite easily.

The pine pollen is extremely fine, and you can add it to soups, stews as thickener, or to breads as a flour supplement or you can eat raw.

chickweed - Stellaria media

Chickweed: The Best All Around Weed

Nature provides us with a lot of the medicines we need to not only survive, but thrive. When you learn to identify some of the vegetation around you, you can use many of them to your advantage in emergencies, or even as daily remedies for common ailments.

English: Chickenwort, Craches, Maruns, Winterw...
Common Chickweed -Stellaria media (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most beneficial, natural herbs is chickweed (Stellaria media). This plant grows uncultivated readily throughout the world, and can provide relief to ailments from coughs to water retention to inflammed and irritated skin. Not only is chickweed a wonderful natural remedy for a variety of ailments, it is also high in vitamins and minerals, and tastes great in salads or a summer veggie side dish.

Chickweed is fairly easy to identify. It thrives during the summer months, and will grow easily in sunny, moist soil. It grows on a stem which can grow to 15-20 cm in height with leaves growing opposite each other on the stems. White flowers will bloom on the ends of the plant, which will reseed easily for more chickweed to grow. The stems are slender and may have what appear to be tiny hairs growing on them.

Chickweed provides a lot of health benefits to users. The U.S. Navy used chickweed in the prevention of scurvy in the early years because it is high in Vitamin C. While sailors didn’t know the cause of scurvy was low Vitamin C, this edible plant naturally kept levels of Vitamin C higher in sailors onboard ships to lower the numbers of sailors suffering from the potentially deadly disease. It is also a natural diuretic, making it excellent for people suffering from certain types of edema, as well as weight loss due to water retention. Because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, chickweed is a wonderful soother for people suffering from cough due to inflammation of the lungs or mucous membranes. It can also be used to treat minor skin irritations and rashes due to insect bites or other mild skin discomforts.

Chickweed can be prepared a variety of ways, and can be eaten raw, or can be cooked, steamed, boiled, brewed into a tea, or added to clay to make a poultice for the skin. Varieties of chickweed which have hairs on the stems and leaves are best cooked to soften the hairs and make the stems easier to consume.

The leaves are often added to fresh salads and eaten raw, and provide a mild, pleasant flavor similar to corn on the cob. It can also be sauteed with other veggetables as a side dish with some olive oil and seasoned to taste for a delicious and nutritious boost to a meal. The leaves and stems can also be steamed, which retains a lot of the nutritient value, and eaten alone, or they can be added to a cup of warm water to steep for a few minutes to drink as a tea.

If you are consuming chickweed for the added boost of vitamins and minerals, consuming it raw or lightly steamed will be the best preparation method. High in Vitamins C, A, D, and iron, you can get a large boost in these essential vitamins and minerals by consuming the leaves and stems of chickweed mixed in a salad several times per week. To consume as a diuretic or a soothing natural cough remedy, preparing a mildly brewed tea with some leaves and stems will help you achieve the greatest benefit from its use. For minor skin irritations, making a poultice out of clay with chickweed which has been pulverized will work wonders for red, itchy, irritated skin.

Chickweed also contains small amounts of saponins. These are natural thickeners, which can work well in soups and stews. It creates complex, deep flavors while aiding in the thickening of soups, sauces, and stews.

It is amazing what types of natural remedies we can find by looking around us in the great outdoors. One of the most versatile of nature’s remedies is chickweed. It is self-sustaining and uncultivated, and an extremely hardy edible plant which can be found in almost all areas of the world. It provides high levels of certain vitamins and minerals, and can provide soothing relief to certain types of edema, calm coughs, and is a natural anti-inflammatory which can help relieve many minor skin irritations.

Dew - Safe Water

How To Collect Drinking Water From Morning Dew

What is dew?

English: Dew on a spider's web in the morning....
English: Dew on a spider’s web in the morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dew is just atmospheric moisture that’s been warmed by solar radiation throughout the day. As night comes, surfaces cool and the moisture begin to accumulate on those surfaces near the ground including grasses, metal, glass, tree leaves, plastic sheeting, rain ponchos and so on.

Usually, dew won’t settle on the ground itself or on boulders and rocks since they’re still conducting heat, which does not allow the moisture to condensate. The change in temperature is what makes the moisture to accumulate. This is just like filling a glass with cold water. Drops of moisture will quickly form on the outside of the glass.

If there is a heavy cloud cover during the night, dew will not collect on surfaces. Clouds reduce radiant heat loss, which will limit moisture condensation on surfaces because they will not cool quickly enough to create condensation.

Dew Collection

To gather dew you can put a sheet of plastic or a poncho over some vegetation. Leave small depressions for the moisture to collect. You may also absorb the moisture from grasses, bushes or any other surfaces employing a clean cotton cloth, and when the cloth has absorbed as much as it can squeeze the moisture into a container or straight into the mouth.

The water obtained is generally safe to drink if the surfaces are not contaminated. Be careful when collecting dew from vegetation. You don’t wish to get dew from poison ivy or poison oak for self-evident reasons.