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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Improvised Survival Life Vest

Your pants can be used for more things than just holding your wallet and keys. Your pants can actually help save your life in a water survival scenario.

Lets use a scenario where you are out boating several miles from shore and for some unforeseeable reason the boat sinks. The boat owner did not have life jackets or any other flotation devices on board. Hopefully, you are not the boat owner that made that costly mistake.

Now, the boat is nowhere in sight because it is now at the bottom of the lake. You are alone and hopefully have some type of swimming skills, especially on how to tread water. If you can not swim, I would suggest learning now before you need the ability to do so. If you can't swim or tread water, this technique will not work for you.

If you are wearing shoes, attempt to remove at least one show string and discard your shoes. This will remove some wait that will drag you down. Hold the shoe string in your mouth until needed for the next steps. If you are able to tie the bottom of the pant legs together into a knot, then you may not need the shoe strings. It depends on how thick your pant material is and the pant size. The larger the pants, the more difficult to tie. I know from experience. 

Remove your belt if you have one. Remove any heavy objects from the pockets like keys, etc.

While doing these steps, it is important not to panic. You may need to go under water once in awhile to do some of these steps to relieve some pressure from treading water. Just hold your breath, sink a little, do a step, and then come back up for air. The colder the water, the harder it is to do these steps.

After removing the belt and other items, if you are able to slip your pants off without undoing the snap and zipper then do so. If not, you will have to close the snap and zipper after removing your pants.

Once the pants are off and everything is snapped up, you will need to tie the pant legs together at the cuff so that air will not escape through them. If you are able to tie the legs together into a knot without using the string, then do that. If it is difficult, then use the shoe string. I prefer to use the shoe string because I can tie the pant leg opening closer to the ends so that it will hold more air.

Next, will need to place your head between the opening of the pant legs with the cuff facing to your back and the zipper facing down into the water. You should be looking at your rear pant pockets if done correctly. 

Next, bring the opening up above your head and the scoop downward toward the water trapping air into the pant legs. You need to squeeze the belt opening together at chest level so that air does not escape back out. You will need to do this step as needed to keep air in the legs. You can also slightly open the belt area up and slap water and air into the opening and then close it back up.

Next, after the pant legs are puffed up with air, lean back slightly while keeping the belt opening closed at the chest with your arms. Determine where the nearest landfall is and start pedaling with your feet toward that direction. You will be traveling backwards, so every now and then look back to make sure your are not heading for any type of hazard or danger.

There is an alteration to this technique. You can tie off each pant leg individually resulting in two floating ends. You keep the belt opening down into the water and place your chest between the crotch area and you can pedal forward on your chest rather than on your back.

Note:  If your pants have holes in the knees or crotch area, this technique will not work.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Cotton Ball Friction Fire

Items needed:

100% cotton balls
Wood ash (the white part of the burnt fire)
Two wood boards (2 x 4, 1 x 4 etc.)
Tender bundle

Prepare the cotton ball by opening it up and form it into square shape. Put about a teaspoon of wood ash on top of the bottom 1/3 of the cotton strip. 

Starting from the bottom, roll the cotton ball as tight as you can get it. Next, roll the cotton cylinder on the board with the palm of your hand to make it tighter. Then, using one of the flat boards, roll it again to make it even tighter.

Next, using the same board, begin rolling the cotton cylinder back and forth in a sawing motion, pressing down with firm pressure. After about 12-15 strokes, lift the board and check for embers. If you see smoke, you make have to open the center of the cylinder a little, to let in some oxygen.

If it has not started to smoke or catch and ember, continue to with the sawing motion until an ember or smoke is produced. If the material is spent and has not produced smoke, you may need to make another bundle and start again. Add a little more of the ash on the second attempt.

Once you have obtained an ember, transfer it to the tender bundle and complete your fire making steps.

Other materials can be used to produce the same effects. Cotton cloth strips, paper towels, dried yucca fibers can be substituted for the cotton balls. Rust from metal can be used in place of the wood ash.

A flat rock can used as a base instead of wood.

Stay prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Survival Uses For Mullein


Note: Use the first year growth for leaf remedies and second years growth for the flower remedies. This is when the potency is the best for this plant.

Great mullein has been used since ancient times as a remedy for skin, throat and breathing ailments. It has long had a medicinal reputation, especially as an astringent and emollient, as it contains mucilage, several saponins, coumarin and glycosides. 

Non-medical uses have included dyeing and making torches. The soft leaves were used as toilet paper. Native and pioneer women used the leaves as a sanitary napkin.

Mullein can be found in dried river beds, along roadsides, in disturbed soil areas. Mullein like a lot of sunlight.

Medical uses:

Leaf decoctions or herbal teas were used for expectoration, consumption, dry cough, bronchitis, sore throat and hemorrhoids. Leaves were also smoked against pulmonary ailments. The Zuni people, however, use the plant in poultices of powdered root applied to sores, rashes and skin infections. An infusion of the root is also used to treat athlete's foot. The combination of expectorant saponins and emollient mucilage makes the plant particularly effective for cough. All preparations meant to be drunk have to be finely filtered to eliminate the irritating hairs.

Oil from the flowers was used against catarrhs (excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane), colics and, earaches, frostbite, eczema and other external conditions. Topical application preparations was recommended for the treatment of warts, boils, carbuncles, hemorrhoids, and chilblains, amongst others. Recent studies have found that great mullein contains glycyrrhizin compounds with bactericide and potential anti-tumoral action. These compounds are concentrated in the flowers.

Mullein is used for cough, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchitis, hoarseness, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, swine flu, fever, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat. Other uses include asthma, diarrhea, colic, gastrointestinal bleeding, migraines, joint pain, and gout. It is also used as a sedative and as a diuretic to increase urine output. 

Other uses:

The seeds contain several compounds (saponins, glycosides, coumarin, rotenone) that are toxic to fish, and have been widely used as toxins for fishing.

The flowers provide dyes of bright yellow or green, and have been used for hair dye. The dried leaves and hair were made into candle wicks, or put into shoes to help with insulating them. The dried stems were also dipped into suet or wax to make torches. 

Mullein tea is a traditional treatment for respiratory problems, such as chest colds, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaf tea is slightly bitter; a tea of the flowers is sweeter. Both the leaves and flowers contain mucilage, which is soothing to irritated membranes, and saponins, which make coughs more productive. Research has shown that the herb has strong anti-inflammatory activity, and lab studies suggest that mullein flower infusions have antiviral properties, as well.

The Creek Indians drank a decoction of the roots for coughs; other tribes smoked the roots or dried leaves to treat asthma.

Topical applications were equally varied. The Cherokee rubbed mullein leaves in their armpits to treat “prickly rash.” Leaf poultices were used to treat bruises, tumors, rheumatic pains and hemorrhoids. Mullein flower oil (made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil) also has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches.

Like many other herbs, mullein is not entirely benign. Some people find the plant’s hairs irritating to skin and mucous membranes. It’s a good idea to see how you react to a small amount of mullein before consuming it or smearing it on your body. And always strain the tea through fine-weave cloth or a coffee filter to remove any stray hairs.

The stalk can also be dried as a spindle for making fire either by hand drill or bow drill.

Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. Although the leaves and flowers are edible, enjoying a cup of tea made from these parts is generally preferable. Leaves and flowers can be used in a salad.



1-2 tsps of dried mullein leaves and/or flowers
1 cup boiling water


Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried mullein flowers and leaves. Steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Pour the liquid through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to strain out the plant's tiny hairs as they may irritate the throat.

Mullein leaf tea has a soothing effect on the urinary tract and facilitates urination. It also eases a nervous, irritable bladder and incontinence. Prepare mullein tea as directed above (minus the mullein flowers) and drink 3 - 4 cups daily. (Be sure to ask your health practitioner first if this is suitable for your condition.)

Mullein flower oil:

Made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil for 3 weeks (has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches)

Mullein Cough Syrup:


Approximately 5 handfuls of mullein flowers (not dried)

Directions: In a jam jar, place one handful of flowers. Pour a layer of sugar on top of the flowers approximately the same volume as the flowers. Place another handful of flowers on top of the sugar. Continue to do this until you reach the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar and place in direct sunlight for 1 week. 

After one week, the level of the layers will have dropped. Place another layer of fresh flowers and sugar until you reach the top again. Put the lid back on and place in direct sunlight for 3 more weeks. 

After 3 weeks, use a strainer and strain the liquid (brown syrup) into a dark colored glass medicine bottle and cap it off. Label the bottle with the contents and date. Use one teaspoon as needed for cough and sore throat. 

(Warning: check with your doctor before taking this application to make sure it will not react with any medications that you may be taken. Also, make sure you are or anyone taking this recipe are not allergic to mullein. Take at own risk this is for educational purposes only as the author is not a doctor. Do your own research.)

List of Uses:

1. Bandages
2. Toilet paper
3. Sanitary napkins
4. Flowers- edible, as well as making medicine for ear aches, wounds, infections, hemorrhoids, chap lips
5. Leaves- edible, as well as making medicine for cold and flus. Dried leaves smoked for lung congestion and throat problems (bronchittus). Inhale the steam from boiling leaves to help relieve cough. Boiled leaves were placed on inflamed area to help with healing and swelling.
6. Leaves were used to make candle wicks.
7. Dried stalk used for hand and bow drills for starting fires. Stalks were also dipped in wax or tallow and used as torches.
8. Seeds- not edible. Used to stun fish by pounding the seeds and placing in a cloth and then placed into a shallow pool of water containing fish.
9. Root- pounded into a powder and made into a poultice to put on sores and infections and helps heal athletes foot.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!