Saturday, July 12, 2014

Desert Hollygrape

The Desert Holly-grape (Mahonia spp.)

The Desert Hollygrape is also known as Oregon Grape, Fremont's Barberry and Algerita. This shrub is mainly found throughtout upper Sonoran, Desert Grasslands, Chaparral-Scrub and Juniper-Oak regions.

The leaves are tooth-shaped with spikes on the ends. The leaves have a bluish tint and the inner bark is a distinctive yellow. The berries can come in different colors; purple, red, yellowish-orange and sand color.

The berries can be eaten raw, dried for later, made into wine, jams or jellies. The berries have a sweetish tart refreshing taste and is rich in vitamin C. To make a refreshing beverage, boil one to two handfuls of the berries in water.

The roots of this shrub has medicinal value as well. The root has antimicrobial properties due to containing an alkaloid called berberine. A tincture can be made of 1:5 ratio with 50% alcohol. Approximately 10 drops of this solution taken before eating will assist the digestive system.

To aid in the functions of the galbladder and liver, 15-30 drops of this tincture can be taken. Use the bark from the lower part of the plant to make a good antimicrobial skin wash. Just crush the bark and let seep in cool water.

A tea can be made from the bark, as well, to make help with blood sugar problems. Wait a couple of weeks before taking more dosages of this plant.

The Berbarine alkaloid has been shown to kill giardia. This makes for a good water purification treatment when in a survival emergency.

The yellow inner bark was used by the natives and pioneers to make a yellow dye for dying bucking skin hides. Do not over look the variety of plant life that may be around you that can be used for food and medicine.

This is why I always say Stay Prepared, Stay Alive. Learn the different plants that are in your area, as well as the area you are traveling to. You may need this information and knowledge in a survival situation.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fire Starting With Cattail

The dried cattail seed head makes a great fire starter. It catches a spark very easily and burns quick. The fluffy seeds are also good for insulation when it is cold out. To use the dried fluff you need to build your fire pit with your smaller kindling and fine debris. Collect dried grass to build a birds nest shaped container and place the dried cattail fluff inside. 

If you have a flint and steel set or ferrous rod, the cattail will take a spark very quickly. If you are using the bow and drill method, the hot coal ember will catch the dried fluff very quickly.

If you run across the cattail during your survival trek, make sure to collect a few seed heads to take with you. Be sure to keep the fluff as dry as possible.

And also remember that the other parts of the cattail is a food source.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Homemade Survival Knife Modifications

I made this knife out of an old lawn mower blade. After finishing it I began to wonder how I could incorporate the hole and slots that were in the center of the blade. After a bit of thought I decided I could add a sling shot system that can shoot arrows. I have seen sling shots being converted for this purpose and figured I could do something that would accomplish the task.

I thought it would be simple, but it actually took me 2 days before I finally came up with the idea that you see in the video and photos. 

Materials used:

1. Black sling shot band with ammo patch already attached. (The black rubber tubing has the greatest pull than the yellow or red tubes.)
2. Two 1/16 inch U-bolts (2 inch x 3/4 inch)
3. Four 1/16 inch nuts
4. Four 1/16 inch flat washers
5. Two 1/16 inch locking washer (if you use lock nuts you will not need lock washers)

On the U-bolts you will need to cut off the threaded part of one of the shafts where the smooth shaft meets the threads. So, on each U-bolt you will have one long shaft and one short smooth shaft. Sand off the burrs from where you made the cuts so that they will not cut into the rubber tubing when you slide the assembly onto them.

When applying the tubing, wet the smooth shafts with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and slid the tubing onto the shaft and stop at the top where the shaft just begins to bend. Let this dry for 30 minutes before attempting to apply any force to the tubing.

When sliding the tubing onto the shaft, make sure the ammo pouch is in line with the direction of aim and is not twisted out of shape.

Take about a 4 inch piece of para chord and remove the inner white string leaving you with the outer sheath. Feed the para chord through the holes in the ammo pouch where the rubber tubing goes thru.  Go thru one hole and then across and thru to the other hole. Tie a knot at the end of the para chord.  This will give you a loop. The opening in the para chord should be wide enough to put a finger through for pulling the tubing back and holding the arrow.

This system has about a 30 pound pull and maybe more depending on how far back you pull the tubing. I am pretty sure that it will kill small game at 25-35 feet. With a good broadhead on the end, you can take down feral hogs with this set up, but you have to be close. Make sure you have an alternate means of protecting yourself in the event the hog does not die quickly and decides to attack you.

This was a fun project for me. It allowed me to think while working on it. I will attempt to put down some game animals with this system and to video the event to certify this set up for survival purposes. I was given an idea by a subscriber to add a fishing reel set up attached to the butt of the handle so that you can fish with this system. I need to go to the drawing board and do some calculating. I will post a follow up if come up with a solution. So stay tuned and wish me luck. Come back soon!

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!