Monthly Archives: February 2014

fluid & electrolyte balance

Fluid & electrolytes




We all know that dehydration can be dangerous, leading to dizziness, seizures and death, but drinking too much water can be just as bad. In 2002, 28 year old Cynthia Lucero collapsed midway through the Boston marathon. Rushed to a hospital, she fell into a coma and died.  In the aftermath it emerged that she had drunk large amounts of water along the run. The excess liquid in her system induced a syndrome called ‘exercise-associated hyponatremia’ or EAH for short. In which an imbalance in the body’s sodium levels creates a dangerous swelling of the brain.


STATS up to one third of endurance athletes who collapse during events suffer from EAH. Between 1989 and 1996, when the US army mandated heavy fluid intake during exercise in high heat. EAH caused at least 6 deaths. [Statistically that is not very many.]

[And the Israelis have used the ‘over-drink’ plans for decades with good results]

DON”T drink more than 1.5 quarts of water per hour during sustained, intense exercise. But do consume plenty of salt along with your fluids.



A rock formation in Utah called The Wave is remote and beautiful, but also arid and sweltering. This past July, a couple hiking the area was found dead after the afternoon heat overwhelmed them while hiking. Scarcely three weeks later, a 27 year old woman collapsed while hiking the wave with her husband and died before he could get help.

STAT an average of 675 people die each year in the US from heat related complications.

DO: carry lots of fluids, hike in the morning and let people know where you are going when trekking in the desert.


Both of these paragraphs were in the October 2013 issue of Popular Mechanics which is overall a great publication. I transcribed them both and may not be exactly as it was in the magazine.  As far as they go they make good teasers for greater research.


My observations & comments also make good teasers for further research on your part. ;]


The topic of fluid and electrolyte balance is broad enough that literally volumes of books have been written about it. Sodium Chloride [NaCl or table salt] is only 1 of the major electrolytes and if you eat a modern diet you are getting WAY more sodium than you need, in fact most cardiologists recommend LIMITING your sodium intake to generally less than 2,000 mg [2 grams] a day. It was interesting a few years ago when I was trained [and FDA certified] to run a wet pack food cannery. Each 14 to 16 ounce can of product we add more than half a teaspoon of table salt. Potassium chloride [KCl or salt substitute]  is another very important electrolyte which when most people think of bananas as ‘the’ source. Potatoes are actually a better source of potassium. Salt substitute [aka No-Salt or NU-salt brand names] is considered by some a VERY dangerous item, because this ONE person that they know got into [medical] trouble using it. Well yes, some people do get into trouble with it. There IS such a thing as over use or abuse of anything and table salt [NaCl] overload causes problems to large portions of the population. People get into trouble with too much table salt [NaCl]. Other electrolytes include magnesium, calcium, zinc, chloride and bicarbonate. EVERYTHING in moderation aka, don’t be stupid with your consumption.


Basically most of us get TOO much sodium in our diets and we don’t consume enough plain water to flush all the waste products from your system.


An interesting side note on potassium – it is a vital nutrient and it is one of the 3 ‘drugs’ used during lethal injection when the state kills someone.


See an earlier post on re-hydration drink.


What do I store for Leather Crafting?

What do I store for Leather Crafting?


For Leather Crafting storage it depends on what you are going to make out of leather.  You can make belts, gloves or mittens, vest, coats, pants, shoes, knife sheaths and carrying items. The carrying items includes gun holsters, wallets, cell phone cases, backpacks, book covers and briefcases to name just a few. This will also determine what type of leather to get. There are different thicknesses of leather for different uses.

So it would be ideal if you store several different thicknesses for different projects.

OR you can learn how to tan and otherwise process the skins from the animals you kill for food.


After you decide what you will probably make out of leather you can then decide what type of tools to have. There are some basic tools to get or you can just get a Leather Craft Set. Your basic tools would include:


  • cutting board
  • mallet
  • strip and strap cutter
  • awl
  • swivel knife
  • bottle of leather finish
  • bottle of leather dye
  • sponges
  • painting brushes
  • sinew
  • sewing  palm protector
  • leather scissors
  • some needles
  • carving and decorative tools
  • instruction books
  • hardware such as belt buckles, lace hooks, snaps, Conchos and clasp


You can make trade goods when things are bad that you can trade for things that you need. Can you imagine while you are evacuating your shoe falls apart. It would be great if you knew how to repair it and had the tools. Leather craft is a good skill to obtain so think about learning at least the basics. If you have a Tandy store close to you, check with them on classes that they have to offer. If not check on You-Tube for instructions.

Another book in the works

More of our Earning a living series.

I was just recently notified that Janice Czaplewski is busy working on the next book in her “A Time For Travel” series. I wont let the dragon out of the bag as to the topic, BUT, I have seen the early chapters and they have captured my attention! ;]

See her earlier book below.

Janice Czaplewski has released her new time travel adventure book for children and teens. I have known Janice for MANY years and have enjoyed many adventure stories from her.  I got an advance copy [autographed] and just could not put it down until I had finished reading it. It is sure to be a favorite for generations to come.

Her book, A Time for Travel ~ The Christmas Project is about four cousins who invent a time travel machine over Christmas vacation. They set the time for 200 years in the past and set the location for the Marble Arch Caves in Northern Ireland. That is not where they end up!

Follow Brooklyn, Caleb, Genevieve, and Kennedy as they explore the castles and caves of ancient Ireland on their grand adventures. What will they do once they get there and their time travel machine doesn’t work? Will they find the leprechauns, dragons, fairies and unicorns they are looking for? Will they get home?

A Time for Travel ~ The Christmas Project is available in paperback on Create Space and Amazon and electronically on Amazon Kindle. It is in the MatchBook program, so if you buy the paperback from Amazon, you can get the Kindle version for only $.99.

If you would like an autographed copy, contact Janice directly at Just put the word “book” in the title of your email so she can pay attention to it right away. 🙂


There is a link below. If that doesn’t work, type “Janice Czaplewski” in the search on Amazon in the books section.


also see




Use wheat either whole or cracked with raisins, dates, honey, or brown sugar. It can be served with cold milk. One cup of wheat makes 4 to 6 servings. Cook enough whole wheat to last a week. It may be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Pressure Cooker Method

I like this way the best.

1 cup whole wheat  2 cups boiling water

1/2 tsp. salt


Bring up to pressure at 15 lbs until the weight starts jiggling. Turn off the heat. Depending on the ambient temperature leave overnight on the stove, if the room is cool you can put the pressure cooker into a thickly newsprint lined ice chest. The newsprint is to protect the ice chest from the heat. This trick mimics the hay or straw box cooker in days of yore [that translates to “the good old days of your grandparents”].


Thermos Method

1 cup whole wheat  2 cups boiling water

1/2 tsp. salt


Place in quart-size thermos; screw top lightly. Leave overnight.


Gas Range Method

1 cup whole wheat  2 cups boiling water

1/2 tsp. salt


Place ingredients in a pan over the pilot light all night.


Crock Pot Method

1 cup whole wheat  2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp. salt

Cook 6 to eight hours or overnight on low.


Cracked Wheat Method

1 cup cracked wheat    2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil. Cook covered on low for 10 to 20 minutes.

You do have to prepare by planning ahead. By doing this you will not only survive but THRIVE.

What to Store for Sewing?

Do you sew? Even if you don’t there are a few things you need to store to keep the  clothing that you have in good order.  Hand sewing needles, a threader, thread, straight pins in a container, thimble, a tape measurer and a pair of scissors are the basic supplies.  Some patches, various buttons, Velcro, replacement zippers, elastic and material would be helpful to have on hand, too.  There are sewing kits that you can get at the Dollar Tree that are in a plastic container for $1. The items are all pretty good except the scissors.  But you can purchase a decent pair of scissors for just a dollar. You can also get these items from garage sales and second hand stores. As far as thread goes if you keep your colors down to just a few then you won’t have to make sure that you match each and every color of clothing that you own, or you can purchase clear thread which you can use for any color. Do get more thread than is just in one of the sewing kits. That is a beginning but you will not know how long it may be before you can get to a store and purchase more.  Also you can use thread, hand sewing needles and any other sewing items as trade goods.  So, since needles and thread are cheap get a good number of these items.


As far as material is concerned denim and other heavy weight material will be at a premium. If you can obtain 100% cotton, that would be the best, or as close to that as possible. It wicks the sweat off of you and will not shrink as bad as other fabric types. Also if you are not allergic to wool, it is a good material in colder weather to have. Wool blankets from garage sales or GI supply houses are a good bet, cheaper than wool by the yard. If you can not be in physical contact to wool you can put a cotton fabric on both sides and should be able to use it then. Also for other fabrics sheets are better priced than material by the yard and you can get used sheets at garage sales or second hand stores for really cheap.  Even if you get fitted sheets and cut the elastic part off it is still cheaper than purchasing by the yard material.  As far as storing material or clothing I find it best to put into a plastic bag, squeeze out the air and close, and then put it in a Rubbermaid container. Mice love to get into material, they will make their nest there and chew up the material.


If you have a chance to obtain some patterns, do so. Simple ones are the best, because you probably will be sewing clothes by hand. If you can go ahead and cut them out and trace them to heaver paper like freezer paper. The pattern paper tears extremely easily. If you will be making numerous amount of clothes out of the same pattern you can also place the pattern in between 2 sheets of clear contact paper, which will keep it usable for much longer. In the Middle Ages when the people conquered other groups they would grab any clothing and if it did not fit they would either take it up or add other material to it to make it larger. You can store patterns the same way that you store material, in a plastic sack and then in a Rubbermaid container. I have never seen a mouse chew through a Rubbermaid Container as of yet.


Last thing to talk about is you need to learn how to sew if you don’t already know how. This, along with mending will be skills that you can earn money [or save yourself money] doing if there is an evacuation that lasts for a considerable length of time.

What to store for crocheting or knitting?

What to store for crocheting or knitting?


If you crochet or knit you know the mental/physical therapy it can be. If you are in a stressful situation, or long hours with nothing to be able to do, wouldn’t it be great to be able to use that mental/physical therapy, which ever you need? Also while you are reaping the benefits of the therapy you can also be providing socks, hats, mittens and even bandages for your family. Even if you do not crochet or knit at this time, maybe if you have nothing else to do, you can finally sit down and learn. So if you have all of the ingredients such as hooks and needles, yarn, scissors, tape measurer and instruction books it could save your sanity when times are hard.


If you already crochet or knit you know that you need to have such items as crochet hooks, knitting needles, yarn and instruction books and of course a pair of scissors and a tape measure.  There are a few other accessories if you knit that are nice to have such as line markers and stitch holders.  If you don’t already crochet you will need a few different sizes of crochet hooks. You use one hook at a time to crochet; however, there are several different sizes of hooks. If you choose one from the smaller sizes, one from the medium sizes and one from the larger sizes that should cover most of what you will be crocheting. In knitting you use two knitting needles at a time. The same would apply as far as sizes to have.   In my opinion, the best type of thread to have would be 100% cotton. To me cotton is best for cold and hot weather because it wicks away sweat from your body.  As far as the colors go, I tend to keep more to dark solid colors so as not to stand out in a crowd. Also if you tend to keep to 1 or 2 colors then you can have more thread to use than if you need 3 skeins of one color to made a project and have some left over then what do you do with it?  Now when you make bandages it would be better for the yarn to be white, so that you can bleach it to keep them as clean as you can.  And on the instruction books a basic crochet book that shows all the different types of stitches and how to determine gauge and one that had a basic hat, mittens and sweaters would be best. And that may take a few instruction books to get that information, also if you have young babies you may need one for their size too.  With knitting instruction books a basic stitches and how to determine gauge and basic hat, mittens, sweaters and socks would be the best to have. You can get instructions, gauges and patterns for free on the computer and if you go to You Tube you can watch someone teaching the how to.  Knitting also uses some accessories such as line markers and stitch holders. Those would be nice to have, however, they are not mostly necessary.


If you can store these items in your storage you can use them yourself or use them as trade goods, which are things that you can trade for something that you really need such as food, tools or whatever. And if you go to garage sales and second hand stores you can pick up these items for a lot less than if you go to the specialty store and purchase these new. There are lots of things to gather to be totally prepared, if you have to purchase everything new it may be the difference from having what you need and not having it.



Cold weather at home. WATER

Cold weather at home. WATER


Last week it got down to minus 22 degrees F actual temperature, I do not know what the wind chill was. to large extent that information did not matter because IF you outside without shelter which includes proper clothing, you can die in less than an hour.


There were several structures with fire suppression systems [automatic sprinkler systems] that had those pipes in the ceilings freeze and break. I am sure that was a big mess.


The other thing about very low temperatures is that the frost line goes deeper. Our town had several water mains that burst. This is not good even during calm summer times. The cold weather made it much worse. Depending on how and where the main breaks it takes at least 8 hours to dig down to it and then repair the problem. I am not sure exactly how many people were without water nor how long it actually took to restore service to them. Even after the break is fixed, the water pipes must be flushed out to clear any contamination issues. Some of the citizens were VERY mad over the water outage. They had no showers before going to work and they had no way to clean, flush or do dishes nor water for cooking.


The sadly amusing thing about this is that the city water department has over the years reminded us all that we should store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days to get them through things like this.


What would those people do if this had happened later during a total grid down situation? What if it had taken a week or more to restore water service?


Being prepared is not only about when the ‘big one’ hits.


Several years ago when some of us worked at the local hospital we were awakened at about 0200 one morning to the sounds of heavy machinery digging up our street. The water main had broken and the water that escaped had flooded the people’s basement next to us. It had not bothered us as we didn’t have a basement. Anyway we both had to be to work at the hospital that morning on the heart floor [tele] and the mother baby floor [OB]. We set the alarms for about 15 minutes earlier than normal as we needed showers before work. [the water was out for about 9 hours that morning]. We did get our showers and we did get to work on time.


How did we manage that with the water main turned off?


We used our water storage and alternative shower system which was a brand new 2 gallon pump sprayer tank. You know the kind they sell in lawn and garden section that you use to spray weed killer and insecticides. We poured a couple of 2 L coke bottles into a pot on the stove and heated it. When it was the right temperature we filled the sprayer and got in the shower. One of use sprayed the other to get them wet –and yes that WAS fun! ;] The first one soaped up and was sprayed down to remove the soap. We then switched places. This was just as good as a ‘real’ shower, used less water than normal AND was way more fun. One of our co-workers lived down the street from us and did not know about the water issue until she went to take her shower and NO water. We discussed it at work that day. I told her how we had handled the situation. She seemed to listen and asked where & how to get ready ‘IF’ it happened again.


Cross ref…coke-bottles-2/

cold weather at home

cold weather at home being prepared is a matter of survival.

As I write this it is minus 5 degrees F and the wind chill is minus 20 degrees F.

That was about 2200 hours [10PM] by 0700 the next day it was minus 22 degrees F actual temperature. That was morning of Feb 4th

Most of us consider that to be a bit on the ‘airish’ side.

We do have an inch or so of snow on the ground right now which is not near enough. Some of the concerns are that water pipes may freeze and break. The easiest way to deal with preventing that is to turn your sink faucet on to a drip. The theory on this is that running water does not freeze as fast. Water lines are typically buried below the frost line so the water is above 32 degrees F and as it comes up into your house it warms the pipes slightly. Once the pipes come out of the ground it is a good idea to have ‘heat tape’ around the pipes and cover that with insulation. This will keep the pipes from freezing and should have been put on already. IF you are fortunate enough to not have your water pipes freeze yet plan on getting the heat tape and insulation and putting all that on when it is nicer weather. You of course have to measure the pipes for length to do the job. The way that we have it set up is with a power switch so that we only have to use electricity when it is cold. If you are lucky enough to have the pipe come up into your basement you will not have to worry about all of that.

Many of us in the colder areas of the world put storm windows on which create a ‘dead’ air space which keeps you warmer in the winter AND cooler in the summer too. Most houses also have storm doors which do the same thing. Doors are harder to deal with as they still have to open and air tends to flow through the cracks at the door frame.  On doors which you seldom if ever use – like the back door – you can stuff the cracks with plastic which will retard air flow and you still will be able to open the door to escape if there is a fire. It is helpful to have some sort of wind break to keep the wind from hitting the doorway directly. You can and most likely should have heavy insulated drapes on the windows to help hold the heat in especially at night. During the day you should have the drapes open so that sun light comes in and you benefit from the solar heat gain. There are plans available to make capturing the sun light easier for heating your home we will not be covering that any deeper as we don’t have enough room to write it here now.

Other points in your house that leak heat are electrical plugs and switches. You can retro fit them with sheet foam to seal the heat in. most of us have vents in the kitchen that are hard to seal. Of course on the other hand you may not want to seal that point as you will want to vent smoke and odors if you burn your dinner. In most bathrooms there is an exhaust vent to get rid of the humidity from showering. I think that the vent should be sealed to hold in the heat. The extra humidity in our area is nice to have as we live in an arid area. During a wet YEAR we might get 15 inches of water. Part of the definition of desert is that you get 10 inches of water annually or less. With a properly insulated and sealed house MOST of your heat can come from ‘waste’ heat of the appliances, lights and occupants. As an example we have the heater turned OFF right now. We had ran the heater about 9 hours ago and it is still 65.7 degrees F in our home.

It is way easier and more economical to warm the person instead of the whole house. Of course dress warmer and even wear a sweeter around home like President Jimmy Carter did in the white house during the 1970s. If you are still chilled after putting on the sweeter, you can use an electric blanket or throw or use a heating pad in your chair and sitting on it. If your hands are cold and you are doing something with your hands like typing a blog post, you can make use of a heat lamp. Right now I am not using the extra heating options as I am sitting here typing with a tee shirt on. As an aside, a few years ago my daughter and I went shopping one evening and she commented that it must be cold out as we both had our winter coats on. I had a windbreaker on and she had her sweet shirt with hood on…… it was minus 30 degrees F outside. ;]

Sleeping warm is easy enough to do. They make electric mattress pads which works better than an electric blanket as heat rises. Of course you can use a few blankets over you to help too.

There was a musical group back when I was much younger called ‘Three Dog Night’, I really liked their music. Historically a way of expressing how cold it got at night was to say how many dogs you had up on the bed with you. Back when we were working in the mother / baby department we would encourage new moms to hold their babies and to have skin to skin contact, aka Kangaroo care, to keep the baby warm. Kangaroo care is the best way to warm up a baby or anyone else. If you are cold at night, snuggling with your mate is a great way to keep warm.

Cross ref

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.

Cast Iron cookware p4

Choosing the right size oven

Dutch ovens today are available in a variety of sizes.  You can get ovens ranging from 8 inch to 22 inch and the depths of the ovens will run from about 3 inches deep to nearly 12 inches keep.  As you can see, with that kind of variety to choose from, you want to get the right one for the right job.

One of the most frequently asked questions is “what size oven should I buy?”  I would suggest that if you are starting out, get a 12 or 14-inch oven 4 inches deep.  You can then add other ovens of different sizes as you can afford to and have a need.


As you expand your stable of Dutch ovens you can save on fuel by stacking them on top of each other. The coals that you place on top of the bottom Dutch oven are the heat source for the next higher pot, up as high as you want. Well, maybe not as high as you want as it is impracticable and not safe to go over about 4 Dutch ovens high.


For the people who do not think that you will ever use a Dutch oven out side OR that you will want to use it a lot on your electric stove, there are totally flat bottom which gives good contact with the heating element. All of the advice given earlier for picking it out and the care of it is the same. If you have only the totally flat bottom ‘modern’ Dutch ovens and you need to use it outside on a real fire, you can use it with 3 rocks or bricks to hold it up off the coals.


Strange as it may seem Dutch ovens are not always the best tool for the job in cast iron cooking. Some times you want or need something with shorter sides like fry pans and griddle.


Currently we have some cast iron that came into the family with our great grand parents and will easily be handed down to our grand kids who are teens already or we may give some of it to their kids. Some of it is known to be at least 100 years old and are still used almost daily.



People who use cast iron often, seldom IF ever, have iron poor blood. The best foods to make the iron in the pot more bio-available have acidic ingredients such as tomatoes. Foods like chili and spaghetti sauce are great.

With my OB patients especially, I would advise them to start cooking in cast iron to maintain or increase the iron in their blood to replace what they had lost during and after delivery and to help them build ‘better’ blood during their pregnancy as the baby grows and blood volume increases.

Is there such a thing as having TOO much iron in your body? Yes, there is! But not very often, only lab work can tell you for sure. There are conditions that cause you to hold onto iron too much, but those are rare.