Monthly Archives: November 2013

Navigation part 1

Navigation is vastly important to you getting to where you need to be. Recently a young lady was traveling in Wyoming with the aid of her GPS unit. She was reported missing and the highway patrol and other law enforcement were on the lookout for her. She was found 12 miles off the main roads in a wilderness area. Even though she abandoned her vehicle when she got stuck in the snow and tried to walk out. She was recovered alive and well by the highway patrol. BTW, especially in cold weather, if you get lost or stuck in the snow it is generally best to stay with your vehicle, as it is easier to find the car and it provides you with shelter.

Her GPS had malfunctioned and she had blindly followed its directions and did not realize it was leading her astray as she had not reviewed a map ahead of time. Obtaining a map is easy enough to do either as a hard copy such as an atlas or a state specific map provided by the states tourist bureau or most wayside rest stops on the interstate. Or you can Google Maps it and get turn by turn directions. Navigating with a map and compass is ‘old school’, this is true. However it is tried and true technology that has served us well for many hundreds of years.

Today many people consider map reading and making [cartography] and compass use to be hard or a mystery. It does take a little bit of time to learn the language of cartography as with any area of learning. The rudimentary points 5 to 7 year old can master. An example is when they start to school the kids are told where their class is located and where the toilets are from that room. The kids are told to turn left [or right – depending] when they walk out the door and go 7 rooms down the hallway, turn right at the intersection of the halls and the boys [or girls] restroom is the 2nd door on the left. Most kids can handle that, right? Many schools will even have a ‘strip map’ or floor plan with the toilets, their room and the office marked on it. This is basic navigation and is really not much different except in scale to travelling to the other side of the world.

Today, larger ships and airplanes have automatic pilots, GPS, gyrocompasses and radio direction finder or homing beacon.  When the pilot or crew needs to ‘double check’ these advanced systems they rely on old magnetic compasses or the stars.  When GPS systems are up to date and working correctly, they ARE more convenient to use perhaps than a map and compass.

Discussing the basic compass first- there are 4 major directions listed on a compass, they are North, East, West and South with YOU in the middle.


North [0]

West [270]    [you]       East [90]

South [180]


North is always at the top of the globe and the bottom is always south. It is the same with maps.

The compass is further broken down to North east, North west, South east and south west. While it is easier for some to use those as general directions in conversation, it is much more accurate to use bearings expressed in degrees to write out actual navigation steps. A compass is divided into 360 degrees with due north expressed as either 0 degrees or 360 degrees. East is 90 degrees, west is 270 degrees and south is 180 degrees.

End part 1

Being Thankful

Being Thankful

Even if you do not believe in a Higher Power, you can still be grateful for the things that you have.  And even if you don’t have much you can still be grateful. Being grateful is the feeling or expressing thanks. One great way of expressing thanks is in prayer. After you pray for something, and get the thing you asked for, don’t forget to go back and thank who was responsible for making it possible.  Be thankful for the people that are in your life, the wonderment of birth. Be thankful of the ability of trees and plants to reproduce. Even the insects, even though they are a pest, have a reason of being here.

Another great way of expressing your thankfulness is to maintain a Grateful Journal and write one thing a day that you are grateful for.  This is a good thing to start the kids doing at an early age, so that the grateful attitude is instilled in them early. Last Sunday when I was teaching my Sunday School Class

Of 8-10 year olds, I gave them a small notebook and asked them to start a Grateful Journal, they were really excited about this.

During Thanksgiving Dinner would be a great time to go around the table and ask everyone to think of one thing that they are thankful for.  This is a great tradition and gets the best attitude going for a wonderful day. Its also good to do at Christmas and Easter Dinner. If you start with a grateful attitude there should be less of a chance of fighting at the table.

From our house to yours, have a Happy and Thankful Thanksgiving Day.

*** What are some of the things YOU are thankful for?

water storage 2L coke bottles

Clean water is one of the highest priorities for survival. Generally you could go for 3 days without water although that would not be wise.

It is generally recommended to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for consumption. This would be a bare minimum to have on hand. So for a family of 4 you would need 12 gallons of water for 3 days just for drinking.

What we have found to work the best for storing water are 2 L coke bottles. Coke bottles are rated to store 7 to 10 years with coke product in it under pressure. That is what a coke dealer told me. If the bottle will last that long with a corrosive agent under pressure without failing it should last for many decades holding water.

Our procedure is to gather several used / empty coke bottles and after removing the labels we wash them out with plan dish soap and water. Rinse well and fill with tap water & let them set over night. The next day empty that water out into the garden or flower pots [around here we do not want to waste water as we only get 10 to 14 inches of rain a year].

We the fill the bottles with either tap water or distilled water, leaving a one inch head space and then replace the cap hand tight. The filled bottles then go on selves for later use.

City tap water already has chlorine in it which will kill any bugs and for the distilled water there should have been enough chlorine in the rinse water to have disinfected the bottles and there should not be any bugs in the distilled water. If done properly there should be no reason to rotate this water for at least 10 years.

We have been storing water this way for over 30 years. One friend currently has 11 months worth of water stored in this fashion.

If you have to move your water from one side of the room to the other or from one floor to another, OR if you have to load some of it into the car for a camping trip, even a 3 – 5 year old can help carry it.

PS –NEVER use the ‘milk’ jug type containers as they are designed to fail within about a year.

JFK 50 years ago

Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

We want to make note of this… However, we will not do much more than acknowledge it as others are doing a much more in-depth telling of the story than we could.

Knit bandages

This is a combined bandage project.

Part one is to get you and your family more prepared under the heading of FIRST AID items. To do this, make 40 of the 4 inch x 48 inch bandages and 10 of the 2 inch x 36 inch ones for your own medical kit. [Modify the directions for the size you are making-see below]. These can be autoclaved [sterilized in a pressure cooker] and are re-usable.

Part two, Once you have made enough for your family, start making them according to the following patterns to donate to the D.O.V.E. bandage project. [link at bottom].

Patterns/Instructions: [[pictures removed for this sheet but are available at the website at bottom. Rich]].

Finished Size: approximately 3 ½ to 4 inches wide by 4 feet long. If it shrinks up to be a bit smaller when washed…don’t worry that is fine. They are used to wrap everything from tiny fingers to the stumps of lost legs and feet. No two applications are the same so our bandages can vary a bit as well.

Material specifications: 100% mercerized crochet cotton or polyester – size #10 – white, cream or ecru (no irritating dyes). This is commonly called “bedspread cotton” (1 ‘ball/skein’ will usually make two bandages.)

Suggested brands include: South Maid D54, DMC Traditions, Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Thread, Cro Sheen and JP Coats. You can find these online as well as at your local Wal-Mart, fabric or craft store.

Tightness:  The bandages shown above are good examples of how they should look. It should be ‘medium-tight’, not strangling, but fairly close, with breathable holes  If yours look Mesh-like they are too loose – please switch to a smaller crochet hook  (size D) or knitting needle (size 2).  These are tighter and made with smaller thread/yarn (no worsted weight) than the ones Global Health used to send to India as the climate and needs are different in Vietnam.

Knitted Leprosy Bandage:

Use size 2 (2.75 mm = UK 12) knitting needles if you knit loosely or average,

Use size 3 (3.25 mm = UK 10) needles if you knit tightly.

Cast on 24 to 28 stitches so the bandage measures about 4″ across.

Knit every row until bandage is desired length of 48 inches long, and then bind off.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET: Secure thread end by slipping thread through last stitch, tying a double knot, and weaving end back through stitches. A sewing needle works well to do this.

Crocheted Leprosy Bandage:

Use size D (3.00 mm = UK 11) or E (3.50 mm = UK 9) crochet hook (loose tension desirable).

Chain enough stitches to measure about 4″ in width.

(I use 23 chs and an E hook, and it takes about 6 rows to equal one inch.)

Row 1: Single crochet into each chain. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 2:  Single crochet into each sc across row. Ch 1 and turn. Continue to single crochet to end, chain 1 and turn.   Repeat row 2 until bandage measures 48 inches long.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET: Secure thread end by pulling thread through last loop, secure with a knot and weaving the end back through the stitches.  A sewing needle works well to do this.

When Completed:

AFTER you have woven the ends back into the stitches, wash the bandages, roll them and secure with a large safety pin.  Put in plastic bag (several to a bag), remove air, and seal.

NOTE:  The bandages do NOT have to be perfect, so if you are afraid your are not straight enough or you dropped a stitch 5 rows before, don’t let that stop you.  Relax and have fun making them.

Why handmade bandages and not gauze or store bought”?

“These leper bandages breathe better, and can be sterilized for reuse.” The lepers wear these bandages on their stumps as well as on sores.  Gauze would wear out much too fast.

The recipients recognize the time involved in making these and it is a special blessing to them that someone cares enough to take the time.  Each one is cherished and gratefully accepted.

Slow Roasted Turkey

Everyone has heard of defrosting a turkey in cold running water or in your fridge. This is a safety issue to keep the bird under 40 degrees F so bugs [germs] don’t grow. Then you have to cook it at, at least 250 degrees F to kill the bugs so they don’t grow while the bird is being cooked.

Burst the myth……

The danger zone for handling food is 40 to 140 degrees F is where the bugs grow and multiply, Right?

The next turkey that you cook, try this.


1 frozen turkey any size

Your favorite roasting pan with lid

Seasonings of choice [salt, pepper, sage, thyme ECT]

Your choice of carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, garlic, or fruits – whatever..

2 cups water

½ lbs butter

Take the still frozen turkey out of the packaging and place in the roasting pan.  Rub with the butter, pour water over turkey and add seasonings. Add cut up fruits and vegetables around the turkey. Cover.

Place into oven [you do not have to preheat] set at 200 degrees F.

Cook for one hour per lbs.  DO NOT interrupt cooking. DO NOT ‘check’ on the bird while cooking as this will lower the temperature.

So if you start with a 12 lbs turkey it will take 12 hours to cook. If you have a 22 lbs turkey it will take 22 hours.

At the end of the cooking time remove the lid, baste and brown the turkey at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Discussion – this process takes the turkey from a safe temperature [frozen] quickly trough the danger zone to 200 degrees F safe temperature [above 160 degrees F] COOKED.  This is the same logic behind a slow cooker or crock pot meal.

I have cooked MANY turkeys this way over the last 20 years without negative incident. The turkey ends up moist and tender. Take the juices in the pan to make gravy.

You can do stuffing on the side, as you should anyway.

BTW, I used to be a public health food inspector.

#7 Fruit Storage

Blog #7 Fruit Storage


When you put fruit up there are only 2 good ways to do it. Cans that you buy in the store will not last very long in storage, of course that depends on the amount of light, humidity and temperature.  The absolute best way is to save dried fruit, whether you dry it yourself and put up in aluminum cans, canning jars or Mylar bags. Of all the storage forms, dried lasts the longest. You can pressure can fruit that will last for a while; again there is the light/temp/humidity thing. At least when you put up in canning jars you can check the top of the lid for being able to push it down and also being able to see the color of the fruit inside will be a good indication of how the fruit is holding up.


A food dryer is a handy thing to have on hand and especially if it is not an electric one. You can make them pretty inexpensively and we will have a blog about how to do that at a later time. Even after the SHTF you can still dry food if you find it, so it will last longer and you can make jerky on it too and here is where the spices come in handy so the jerky has a better flavor to it.


You can buy your own fruit and dry it, or purchase dried fruit from the grocery store, or buy dried fruit in bulk in 25 pound sacks and put it up yourself in canning jars or Mylar bags or you can purchase dried fruit already in #2.5 or #10 cans from places such as,,, etc.


Fruit is important to have in your storage for the vitamin C content, other nutrients and fiber. If you have read much about the old time sailors and the scurvy they suffered from, when they were out to sea for a long length of time.  Scurvy is a disease that is totally preventable if only they had known about the Vitamin C, but in our case we know about it and it is easily prevented. There is also fruit rollups (check out package). There is a 100% fruit juice that is in a can and shelf stable, however it will be just like fruit in a can and will not last very long and you have to put water with it because it is concentrated. You can also purchase fruit juices in plastic bottles, but with the acid content they may not last very long either. Make sure you rotate your stock while you can.


allergic reactions

The question was raised about allergic reactions and what to do about them. The person was looking for and couldn’t find any Benadryl.

One suggestion was to use local honey twice a day, every day which does help with some allergic reactions such as pollen and such. However it does not help with other contact allergens.

Oatmeal baths with cool water helps with some topical reactions and the itching that comes with it.

A generalized allergic reaction most likely needs other interventions, which takes us back to looking for Benadryl.  The worst kind of allergic reaction is called anaphylactic shock. This is not actually different, just at the worst end of the spectrum from a simple ragweed allergy.

Basically an allergic reaction is the body’s response to a foreign substance by releasing histamine.  An interesting point is that you are seldom allergic the 1st time you are exposed to that substance. This is seen in medication allergies.

How to deal with allergic reactions in general and with anaphylactic reactions too.

Benadryl is one of the most common antihistamines that people turn to and it does work well. Other medications would include Claritin, calamine lotion, caladryl which is calamine with Benadryl in it to name just a few.

Zantac may help — yes I know that it is marketed as a stomach medication. It is an H2 antihistamine and Benadryl is an H1 so you get the same effect on the itching without the sleepy effect.

Several years ago while I was doing OB/GYN [obstetrics and genecology aka women’s health] the emergency department got swamped and needed extra hands so I went over to help them. One of the patients that was brought in via ambulance was having an anaphylactic reaction. We did the normal treatments of starting an IV and giving her epinephrine, steroids and Benadryl. We also gave her Zantac. I told the staff that I was OK with giving the first 3 medications but was wondering why the Zantac. The ER Doc responds with ‘OH, you haven’t heard?”  45 minutes later when she took her next breath, I says…. “AH, well duh, of course it works.” Apparently a few months prior there had been an article in one of the professional journals about it’s use in allergic reactions and it was the latest rage. ;]

It is a good idea for a well stocked medicine cabinet to keep on hand some Benadryl and Zantac along with the Band-Aids.

For those who are allergic to bee stings your doctor will most likely order an Epi-pen which is a device that delivers a metered amount of epinephrine [or adrenalin] by injection.

Veteran’s Day

Some of the background on Veteran’s Day in the USA.

The great war aka the war to end all war, as it was variously called back then, only later, with WWII did the war from 1914 to 1918 become known as WWI, had lasted 4 years and was drawing to an end.  The allied nations had virtually beaten the German government and negotiated an end to the war, known as an armistice. All hostilities were to end at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  And that is how we get the date. It was easy to remember.

At first it was observed as Armistice Day, after WWII and Korea it was renamed Veteran’s Day and a time to honor all military veterans.

In 1993 we observed the 75th anniversary of the armistice. At the time there were 6 WWI veterans extant in Wyoming and 3 of them attended the ceremony. One of them was in a wheelchair pushed by another WWI veteran.  Within 6 months only one of them was still alive.

I recall some of the conversations Cookie [the last surviving WWI Vet in Wyoming] and I used to have. The one that sticks out to me right now happened toward the end of the war. Supplies and provisions were hard to come by and both sides had been reduced to scavenging needed equipment. Cookie’s combat boots were worn out and he was keeping the sole of one boot on by tying rags around the boot and it was very cold and wet. One day he came across a German machine gun ‘nest’ in the woods. After he had killed everyone there he was rooting around and noticed that one of the German soldiers had good boots AND the boots fit him. He put the boots on and was so happy to have warm and reasonably dry footwear again. He searched the bodies and ‘nest’, finding some food which he took back to his unit so they could have something to eat too.

The last WWI Vet died a few years ago at the young age of 110.

Take a moment at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month for a bit of silence to remember and show gratitude to the military veterans for their service.


Special election report

The special election for the new buildings at the college LCCC 25 million dollars was voted into existence. This was about half of the projected cost for the project. Next year they will have to go to the state legislature to ask for the other half [another 25 million dollars] both of which raises taxes.

According to after election reports only 24% of the registered voters turned out for this single topic election. Of that amount 40% voted against the project. 60% voted for the raised taxes. What that comes out to is that only about 14% of he registered voters have raised everyone’s taxes.

As an aside there are a lot of property owners here who are not registered to vote locally. We have a military base in town. Many of the active duty people are local and yet maintain their vote ‘back home’ which makes no real sense to me as when you do that, you can not effect your current property taxes.

In essence be involved and engaged where ever you live or don’t urinate and bemoan the current events.