Tag Archives: cold

Learn To Improvise Insulation

Learn To Improvise Insulation

Learn To Improvise InsulationPracticing survival skills is important for preparedness, and one must always consider the worst possible case scenario. So envision for a moment that you are out for a hike on a beautiful day, and the weather dramatically drops to a sudden cold environment. You weren’t dressed for this, obviously, and have quite the distance between your current location and shelter. You’re worried about your survival… here’s what to do in this situation.

Utilize the natural vegetation around you as insulation, by stuffing it into your clothes and footwear. Look for light, fluffy fibers. Obviously you’re not bothered by fashion or looks, what matters is survival skills. Down from cattails or thistle, dead leaves or grass and even bark fiber will all work wonderful as insulation material to keep you warm.

These survival skills can be practiced in other environments as well. If this emergency situation were to happen in the city, you would simply use newspaper or cardboard for the same insulating effect.

The trick behind emergency insulation is to use material that creates dead air space which will keep your body warm, even better if that warmth can be maintained when getting wet is unavoidable. Maintaining body heat is one of the most important concerns with survival skills, and understanding how to create insulation in an emergency is an important step.

Make an insulated vest

This will require repurposing two old t-shirts. Simply cut off the sleeves and sew the remaining portions together to form a double vest, leaving an opening near the neck which you can use to stuff with cattail down before sewing up the top. In the spring, you’ll want to dump out the old stuffing, wash, and re-stuff but you will have an effective insulated vest for… free.


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rosa canina

Roses: The Medicinal Properties Of This Highly Popular and Romantic Flower

rosa caninaThe rose – it’s the most commonly purchased flower, typically given during special times – anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. Not sure what it looks like?

How To Identify The Rose

The family of roses has flowers with open petals shaped like cups and thorns along the branches/stems. On some rose species, thorns are found on underneath the leaves. The key action of them is astringent, which means the tissues contract. This aspect can be found in both the rose’s leaves and petals.

During the warmer seasons of the year, the rose is dotted with red oval-shaped fruit. This “fruit” can be both eaten and used for medicinal purposes.

Now, most commonly seen rose is the dog rose (wild rose); it’s the one most people see when they walk around the neighborhood.

As a child, you may have seen rosehips. In fact, you might have used the seeds as itching powder. This reason is that the seeds are a powerful irritant. Thus, when the hips are being processed, the skin should not be constantly exposed to them. The hips can easily be cut in half, seeds removed and keep the flesh for either them to be dried or processed further. Now, you can eat the outer red, fleshy section of the rose as well as the petals.

How To Create Syrup From Rosehips For Medicinal Purposes

rosehipsIf you plan on using the rosehips for medicinal purposes, put them into a syrup concoction. Of course, the key issue in creating syrup is to have sterilized containers that are well-sealed. Rosehips have less sugar than what’s in jams and, if it’s not properly prepared, it will ferment.

What are the steps to create syrup from the rosehips?

  1. Crush them so that water can touch the flesh while ensuring the seeds are kept away.
  2. Use water to cover them and simmer until the hips become soft.
  3. Using a cloth, strain the juice. Whatever you do, do not squeeze the cloth. If you do, the syrup will turn cloudy.
  4. Throw in sugar, just half a kilo per one liter of juice.
  5. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Allow to cool

If it’s overcooked, it will change into jelly. Now, there are some recipes where the water will re-cover the hips, allowing more juice to be extracted. This is then put into sterilized bottles. Be sure you boil the containers for 15 minutes and allow them to drain. Be sure you leave a two and half centimeter gap when you fill it up.

Now, screw the lids on, undo it by half a turn and place it in a pan of water. Slowly bring it to a boil and boil for up to 30 minutes. When cool, tighten. If it’s not sealed properly, use wax to cover it.

How Are Rosehips Used For Medicinal Purposes

For hundreds of years, the syrup has been used to prevent colds and flus. It wasn’t until recently that scientists learned that Vitamin C was the rosehip’s active ingredient.

Rosehips also have the astringent action, which can be used in treating gums that are bleeding. You can use the petals a survival plaster – lick and apply on a cut and it’ll stop bleeding. Oil can also be made from the petals. Many worthwhile uses for it include antidepressants and aphrodisiacs. Thus, if you feel blue during the winter season, it’s time to use rose oil. However, it’s costly so keep that in mind.

Other worthwhile uses include using the rose stem’s outside fiber to make a cordage material. But, don’t forget to remove the thorns.

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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.


Top 4 Fire Structures

There are several methods that you should consider for laying a fire.

Tepee Method

To prepare a fire utilizing this method you should place the tinder and then the kindling and firewood in a conical structure. Light the tinder. The outer layer of logs will fall in feeding the fire. This approach is perfectly for using with wet wood.

Lean-to Method

Push a green stick directly into ground at a 30 degree angle. Point the tip of the stick wind. Place tinder deep within the lean-to stick. Position bits of kindling against the stick. Light the tinder. Be sure that you add more kindling as the kindling catches fire from the tinder.


Scratch a cross in the earth. The cross really should be about 30 centimeters in dimensions. Dig the cross not less than 7 centimeters deep. Set a wad of tinder in the center of the cross. Making a pyramid of kindling above the tinder. The shallow ditch consent air to sweep under the tinder to supply a vital draft for the fire.


Position small branches or logs parallel on the soil. Next, place a layer of small wood steadily across the logs. Add three or four more layer of branches or logs. Each layer should be slightly smaller than the one below it. a starter fire directly on the top of the pyramid. The starter fire will ignite the logs below as the fire burns. This will offer you with a fire that will burn down and won’t absolutely need any thought throughout the night.



Thermal Body

Heat loss mechanisms

Most people know that the normal temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. But many of us don’t properly understand what it takes for our bodies to maintain this constant temperature. To survive in a cold climate when you are out in the wild, it helps to understand how the body loses heat.

Heat is produced by metabolism of food. If you’re hungry, you will not be able to create as much heat as when you stay well fed. When it’s cold out, you need to eat more food to stay warm and satisfied, because your body uses more energy just to maintain body temperature. And when you aren’t able to just stop by the grocery store for a snack, this form of heat regulation is a whole different challenge.

Anytime the temperature of your environment is lower than the temperature of your body, you will be losing heat and your body will be working to keep your body temperature at a normal level. While most of us can avoid hypothermia because we’re not out in the wild for long periods of time, and we can go home when we want to, it is not uncommon for even the most experienced hikers and backpackers do underestimate the importance of staying warm, sometimes when it is too late.

Learning About Heat Loss

We lose heat through conduction, convection, evaporation, radiation, and respiration. You can’t avoid respiration, also known as breathing, so you will always lose a little bit of heat in that way when you are out in the cold. But there are things you can do to avoid the other four ways you lose body heat.


Evaporative heat loss is what occurs when the wetness in your clothing evaporates, drawing heat away from your body. Waterproof clothing is critical, but so is ventilation and avoiding sweating by staying cool to begin with – which may seem counterintuitive. If your clothing gets sweaty and you have spares, change into your dry clothes before you get cold.

Conduction and Convection

These are two fancy words for pretty simple concepts. Conduction refers to the way heat is transferred from you to cold surfaces you are touching. If you sleep on the ground without enough padding, you will conduct heat to the ground much more quickly than if you increase the padding.

Convection refers to the way that warm air rises and moves away from you. If you wear the right clothing, you will be trapping the air you have warmed with your body instead of letting it get away.


Heat radiates away from your body the way that a campfire radiates heat. Radiation is the least of your worries, because it takes a very cold environment to cause you to radiate a dangerous amount of heat – well below zero.

Finding ways to stay dry, keep your body warm, and avoid transferring heat away from you are all very important. Knowing what to wear, what to do when you are cold, and how to avoid getting cold can save your life.


How to make a rosehip syrup

Syrup made from the hips contains a large amount of vitamin C. The hips are ripe at the end of the summer. The hip is not a real fruit but a swelling of that part of the stem that holds the flower; the true fruits, the hairy objects containing one seed, reside inside the hip.


  • Rosa canina hips
  • Water
  • Sugar


  • weight the hips
  • open and remove seeds and hairy parts
  • wash the hips
  • boil the water (2x water weight)
  • put the hips in the boiling water, let simmer for 5 minutes
  • remove from fire, leave them to stand, covered, for 15 minutes
  • strain the liquid
  • add the sugar (0.5x liquid volume, ie add half cup of sugar for each cup of liquid)
  • heat again to dissolve the sugar

Take a spoonful a day to keep colds at bay.

Keep the syrup in the fridge, or freeze it into cubes to use when needed.


Mentha piperita


The  “Mentha” comes from the nymph Minthe, seduced by Hades and metamorphosed by Persephone in a plant.  The specific name “piperita” means ‘peppery’.

Also Known as

  • Mentha balsamea
  • peppermint
  • hortela
  • mint
  • menta
  • mentha montana


Identification Keys

  • perennial herb
  • stems erect
  • 60-110 cm high – it mostly reclines and often sticks up less than 30 cm
  • square, smooth, branching stem
  • purple-blotched stalk
  • dark green, purplish-tinged leaves
  • opposite leaves, each pair alternating along the stem
  • elliptical and lanceolate leaves
  • leave blades to 9 cm long, 4 cm broad
  • leave broadest near base
  • sharply toothed along leave margins
  • pink to violet flowers
  • four-lobed, weakly lipped flowers (shaped like open mouth)
  • flowers carried in thick, blunt, many-flowered,  oblong, upright spike
  • fruits with 4 tiny nutlets enclosed by persistent calyx
  • pungent scent

Bloom Time

  • summer-fall


  • sunny and partially shaded wet places
  • wet meadows, marshes, spring branches, rivers and lakes, pond margins, sloughs, ditches, roadsides, railroads
  • doesn’t need many nutrients
  • can sustain bitter-cold winters


There are no poisonous smell-alikes. You can confuse Mentha piperita with other aromatic mints (Mentha spp.) which also have square stems and opposite leaves, and smell minty. Don’t use any odorless plant with square stems and opposite leaves until you’ve positively identified it to be an edible or safe medicinal specie.

  • Mentha acquatica (watermint)
  • Mentha spicata (spearmint)
  • Nepeta cataria (catnip)



Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts


aromatic, diaphoretic, carminative, nervine, antispasmodic, antiemetic, antiseptic, digestive, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, analgesic, antimicrobial, rubefacient



  • relieves spasm and pain in colic, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, hiccups, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach-aches
  • enhance appetite
  • helps digestion
  • relieves nausea and travel sickness
  • protects guts from irritation and infection
  • helps in Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis


  • taken in hot tea, it promotes sweating
  • improves circulation moving blood to the periphery

Mental and emotional

  • improves concentration
  • clears the mind
  • calms anxiety and tension
  • relieves tension headaches
  • relieves joint and muscle pain

Respiratory system

  • taken in hot infusion, it’s a decongestant
  • clears airways
  • reduces asthma’s spasms
  • relieves colds, flu and fevers
  • enhance resistance to infections

Immune system

Reproductive system

  • relaxes smooth muscles in the uterus
  • reduces menstrual pain


  • oil is useful for herpes simplex and ringworm
  • use as an inhalant for colds, catarrh and sinusitis
  • relieves muscular pain and aching feet
  • use as gargle for sore throats
  • mouthwash for gum infections and mouth ulcers


  • avoid in pregnancy
  • don’t use oil on babies or small children
  • an overdose of the concentrated essential oil is toxic.



Food Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Main Uses

seasoning, tea


  • provides carotinoids that the body uses to make vitamin A
  • provides the minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorus, silicon, and chromium


  • use any or all of the aerial parts for making tea
  • chop  finely the leaves and use with any dessert or sweet recipe.
  • it is also one of the best flavorings to use with chocolate.


Harvesting Season

  • Mid-spring to mid-fall

Harvesting Methods

  • cut or break off all above-ground parts for tea
  • strip the leaves and tops with your fingers for food use,
  • leave as much of the hard stems as possible behind
  • gather leaves at any stage
  • pick leaves on dry day
  • dry on paper in warm area
  • store in a tight container