Add Dental Floss to Emergency Supplies

Dental Floss

Photo Rusty Buggy Enterprises

More Uses for Dental Floss

If you are a regular dental floss user for oral hygiene, you carry a container with you every day. In addition to cleaning between your teeth, there are other reasons to add it to your emergency supplies. There are uses for both the waxed and unwaxed versions. These include:

  • Use like twine to secure bags.
  • Use it as fishing line. It’s the equivalent of 20 pound test.
  • Sewing to repair clothing or tarps.
  • Use some to make a bow drill to start a fire and use waxed floss to bind wood kindling. When lit, it will burn like a candle wick.
  • Use un-waxed floss to tie food to a stick to cook over an open fire
  • Works to secure your food out of animal reach.
  • Tie tarp into a tree to make a shelter.
  • Braid several strands together for replacement shoe laces.
  • Use as a suture to close wounds.
  • Make a trip line for an early warning  of visitors.
  • Can be used as a clothes line to hang wet clothes to dry.
  • Secure gear to outside of carry pack.
  • Tie a piece of floss through the frame of your glasses to replace a lost screw.
  • Secure pants and sleeves against cold and rainy weather; or to keep out chiggers and ticks.
  • Save the empty container to store small items

References

http://www.thepreparedninja.com/21-survival-uses-for-dental-floss/

http://crisissurvivortips.com/survival-uses-for-dental-floss/

http://www.happypreppers.com/dental-floss.html

Billie Nicholson, editor
April 2015

 

Raised Bed Gardening

Robert and Billie Nicholson

Getting to the Root of the Problem

We have been enjoying raised bed gardening for years and have had great success growing a wide variety of healthy, delicious and cost effective fresh vegetables. We use artificial soil as described below. This works great, so great that everything wants to be in the soil, including roots from other nearby trees, shrubs, etc. Our solution was to build a raised square foot garden so that nearby roots are not aware of our rich soil. Other advantages include not stooping to tend the plants and those with disabilities can sit in a wheelchair to continue the pleasures of gardening. Also when building the raised portion of your growing bed you can adjust the length of the legs to accommodate the slope of your property. We can build a few beds at our lake house and not have our veggies tumbling into the lake.

Our raised garden bed table was made from pressure treated lumber and placed on cement blocks. To keep the chemicals used to preserve the wood frame isolated from our soil we installed a plastic barrier, plastic composite decking and ground cloth before placing our plastic composite garden kit (4’x8’) on top. We secured the garden kit to the table with metal braces and 3 ½ inch #10 stainless steel screws.  The finishing touch was to place strips of ground cloth at right angles inside the garden bed to prevent soil from washing through the cracks as the unit ages.

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Gardening

For The Growing Medium:
We buy our growing medium from the local farm store and get a better price.
1/3 – (4 cu foot bail) – Peat Moss
1/3 – (4 cu foot bag) – Vermiculite
1/3 blend of the following:
– Composted cow manure
– Composted chicken manure
– Composted mushroom

Method

Start by opening the peat moss and break it up into small pieces in the bed. Add vermiculite and mix well. Open other bags and mix well working out lumps. Mix all growing medium dry. When finished mixing, water in the growing medium well (about one hour), test bed by checking bottom for dampness. If the bottom is dry, water until damp. This soil mixture has its good & bad issues. Good: Very rich mixture & great 1st year yields with no weed seeds. Bad: Very rich mixture so that every root in the area wants to invade the rich soil.

This rich bed is so delicious that garden worms will come to live. If you see worms in the yard pick them up and place into your new raised bed garden to speed up the worming process. We buy garden worms every 5 years or so. This year we ordered 1000 worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. They come with homecoming instructions. Go to http://unclejimswormfarm.com

NEVER step into your raised bed, as this will compact the soil and impede the great things to come. Reach in from either side to do your gardening work.

You are now ready to plant. Remember that this method of growing will yield bigger plants than you are used to seeing, so be careful to not plant your new seedlings too close together. More information is found at http://www.squarefootgardening.com

Raised Bed Gardening

Photos Rusty Buggy Enterprises, Inc.

Billie Nicholson, editor
April 2015

Safe Rooms for Tornado Survival

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Tornadoes – a Destructive Force of Nature

Safe Rooms

Photo FEMA public domain

Tornadoes and hurricanes are among the most destructive forces of nature. Unfortunately, these types of wind storms continue to cause injury and death to people who are unable to safely evacuate or find shelter from these events.

The National Weather Service did not start keeping organized records of tornadoes in the United States until 1950. Since then, the deadliest year for tornadoes was 2011, which claimed 553 lives. The single deadliest tornado to date was in Joplin, MO, on May 22, 2011, with 161 fatalities.

Compared with hurricanes and earthquakes, single tornado events typically affect smaller geographical areas but occur more often and cause more deaths. From 1950 through 2011, tornadoes caused about 5,600 fatalities in the United States, more than hurricanes and earthquakes combined over the same time period (NIST 2014).

Tornado Resistant Building Codes

FEMA has long supported the development of hazard-resistant codes and standards by assessing how structures respond in a disaster. Assessment conclusions and recommendations are applied through active participation in the process of creating and developing building codes and standards, including the Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, known as ICC 500.

Safe house

FEMA

The most cost-effective way to design and construct a safe room is to include it in a new building. The cost of retrofitting an existing building (or portion thereof) is higher due to the additional design and construction constraints.

In new construction, the safe room is often built in the basement. The likelihood of wind-borne debris entering the basement is lower than for above-ground spaces; however, a basement safe room should still be designed to resist the extreme wind pressures that an above-ground safe room would need to resist. If you plan to add a basement safe room as a retrofitting project, keep the following in mind:

  • You must be able to clear out an area of the basement large enough for the safe room.
  • Unless the exterior basement walls contain adequate reinforcement as shown on the design drawings provided with this publication, these walls cannot be used as safe room walls because they are not reinforced to resist damage from wind-borne debris and extreme winds uplifting the home’s floor structure above.
  • Exterior basement walls that are used as safe room walls must not contain windows, doors, or other openings in the area providing protection unless they are protected with an appropriate protective device or are designed to resist the debris impact and pressure associated with safe room design.
  • The roof of the safe room must be designed to resist the wind pressures and debris impact forces.
  • Just as the walls and roof of a safe room are designed and built to protect against extreme winds and wind-borne debris, so must the safe room door and assembly. Only door assemblies designed and tested to resist debris impacts and wind pressures can provide near-absolute life-safety protection.
  • Some manufacturers produce and install prefabricated safe rooms.

References

https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/2009

http://www.houselogic.com/photos/tornadoes-severe-storms/tornado-storm-shelters-safe-room-protection-when-it-counts/slide/still-standing/#the-well-grounded-safe-room

https://tomterrific1.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/safe-room-for-tornadoes-etc/

Billie Nicholson, editor
April 2015 

 

 

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings

edited from presentation by Jason Matyas of Seeds for Generations

If you’re getting the gardening itch, now is the time to start getting plans together. Depending on where you live, the ground may still be frozen or covered with snow right now, but before you know it, spring will be here. The official vernal equinox is 20 March, 2015 in the northern hemisphere. This means night and day are nearly the same length, 12 hours, all over the world. This is also the day the sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north.

Growing your own food requires some advanced planning. When you start thinking about a garden there are some constraints to keep in mind. First is garden space. How much do you have, how many types of plants will you want to fit into your garden space and then how many of a given type will you plant? Two other considerations to think about are how long is your growing season and how long will it take for the types of plants you’ve selected to reach harvest maturity? Often we want to get a jump start on the growing season by starting seedlings inside. Where do you start?  Here are some thoughts to keep in mind.

Plants need soil, water and light. Growing plants inside, you will be responsible for all three. In an indoor environment temperature will be important. Some plants need higher temperatures in order to germinate. Warming mats can help this. The amount of light is important, too, to avoid tall, spindly (weak) plants. Water needs to be consistent but not too much. Place your seedling trays next to a south facing window or set up commercial/fluorescent shop lights whose distance from the plants can be adjusted as plants get taller. Use a timer to control length of time, set it for 16 hours of light. If you don’t have enough window space for your trays, build a stand.

When you are getting seeds, you need to know how much space you will have in your garden and calculate how many seeds of each variety you need to plant. Study the planting guide printed on each seed packet. Take your total garden space, determine the required plant spacing, multiply by the number of plants and by the row spacing suggested. The reason you need to do this: so you don’t start more seedlings than the space you have available.

You will need trays like the “1020” ones sealed on the bottom to collect water run off. To this you’ll add planting cells to hold individual plants. Growing medium can be made by mixing 4 parts of compost, screen sifted to remove sticks and other large debris, 1 part pearlite, 1 part vermiculite and 2 parts sphagnum peat moss or coir (shredded coconut shell). Once seeds are planted, keep the soil moist by watering from the bottom. Check regularly for dryness; don’t over water.

As seedlings grow, keep track of them. Help plants get used to the outside by setting them outside in a sheltered location for a few hours during the day. Gradually increase sun exposure and decrease protection from cold at night. Be aware of when the last frost will occur in your area. Don’t plant in the garden until this date or later.

Onions – More Benefits Than You Know

The distinctive smell and taste of onions is found in every cuisine. Do you have a love/hate relationship with them? Does the aroma and flavor overcome the tears and onion breath? If you’re in this dilemma, perhaps these benefits will persuade you to add the humble onion to your diet in a greater abundance.

Native to Asia and the Middle East, they have been cultivated for over five thousand years. Egyptians used them to pay pyramid workers and placed them in the tombs of kings. Their pungency made onions popular among poor people around the world who used them during the Middle Ages to spark up their often bland meals. Christopher Columbus took them to the West Indies, from there onions spread throughout the Western Hemisphere.1 In addition to their use in culinary circles, numerous scientific studies have confirmed onions contain many beneficial ingredients. While low in calories, they are high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.2

Possible health benefits:
Immune System –
Onions have antibiotic, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that fight infections. A mixture of onion juice and honey can cure most common colds, coughs and sore throats. The phytochemicals in onions improve the function of Vitamin C in the body.3
Anti-Inflammation - Onionin A – a unique sulfur molecule found in onion bulbs has been shown to inhibit the activity of macrophages, specialized white blood cells that play a role triggering large-scale inflammatory responses. Quercetin, an antioxidant present in red and yellow onions, prevents the oxidation of fatty acids, also controlling our level of inflammation.1
Insect Stings and Bites – Onions can be used to soothe stings and bug bites. In Florida where we live, fire ants are a real pest. Their formic acid stings are unbearable. Bruised onion slices smeared on those stings is the most relieving concoction I’ve ever used.
Heart Health – The bad cholesterol that causes heart problems may be reduced if raw onions are consumed daily. In animal studies, there is evidence that onion’s sulfur compounds may work in an anti-clotting capacity, preventing the unwanted clumping of blood platelets and improving cell membrane function in red blood cells.4
Cancer – Allium (onion family) vegetables have been studied extensively in stomach and colorectal cancer research. Possible hypotheses to explain the mechanisms by which these compounds inhibit cancer included the inhibition of tumor growth, mutagenesis and prevention of free radical formation because of their high antioxidant vitamin C content. Researchers recommend  consuming 1/2 onion 1-2 times per week.
Skin and Hair – Vitamins A,C, and E are needed to build and maintain collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. Both consumption and topical application can provide numerous benefits. Onion is one of the richest sources of Quercetin, a powerful antioxidant. Massaging your skin with fresh onion juice helps increase blood circulation and improves the overall appearance.    1 TBS of onion juice and 1 TBS of olive oil applied to your face for 20 minutes, then washed off helps protect your skin from acne-causing bacteria and other skin infections.4
Now is the time to pick up onion sets to plant during the last quarter of the next moon phase. (April 10-11) You’ll be glad you did.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015

References

1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=45
2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/276714.php
3. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-great-reasons-to-eat-more-onions.html
4. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-health-benefits-of-onions/

March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13252

How Bleach Kills Germs http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13270

Salt – Fact or Fiction     http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13279

Onions More Benefits Than You Know  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13282

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13153

Every Day Uses for WD-40  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13288

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13294

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13297

Salt – Fact or Fiction

Salt

  • Salt is one of the most precious natural compounds known to man. The word salt comes from the Latin word for salary – when people were actually paid in salt.1
  • Table salt is composed of 97.5% sodium chloride. It is dried at more than 1,200º F. which separates out other naturally occurring minerals, making it a toxic compound to the human body.2
  • For the body to metabolize chemical table salt, it must waste tremendous amounts of energy to keep the body at optimum fluid balance – 20 grams of cellular water for each gram of table salt.2
  • Americans consume over 5 grams of sodium chloride per day. Much of this is found in pre-processed foods, used as a flavor enhancer. Doctors recommend diets much lower than this.2
  • Crystal salt like Pink Himalayan and Artisan salt contain 84 trace elements that are vital to health. They are alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance sodium-potassium rations and include electrolytes.3
  • Iodine was added to salt during production in America around 1924, at the request of government initiatives, due to iodine deficiency disorders. Lack of iodine had been related to thyroid disorders resulting in goiters (enlarged growths in the neck) and in mental deficiencies in new-borns.4
  • Recent research into iodine levels in 80 types of iodized salt brands showed that only 20% have enough of the micronutrient to be considered enough for daily level consumption.4
  • Benefits of consuming sea salt include building a strong immune system, enhancing digestion, reducing inflammation in the respiratory system, enhance heart health, prevent osteoporosis, and preserve hormones that help you deal with stress.5

The literature is filled with conflicting information. Is it good for you or not?

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015

References

1.  http://www.saltinstitute.org/salt-101/
2. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/
3. http://saltrevolution.com/benefits-of-himalayan-salt/
4. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/iodine-in-salt/
5. http://readynutrition.com/resources/10-health-benefits-of-sea-salt_15092011/

 

March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13252

How Bleach Kills Germs http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13270

Salt – Fact or Fiction     http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13279

Onions More Benefits Than You Know  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13282

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13153

Every Day Uses for WD-40  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13288

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13294

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13297

How Bleach Kills Germs

Created in the 1800’s

French Chemist and pharmacist, Antoine-Germain Labarraque, is credited with formulating a solution of sodium hypochlorite (commonly called bleach) widely used as a disinfectant and deodorizer. In 1824, he was called to the death bed of King Louis XVIII, who suffered from extensive gangrene. The body emitted a foul odor long before death, which the chemist was able to remove by covering the body with a sheet soaked in chlorinated water. Long before the germ theory of infection, his solutions of sodium and calcium hypochlorite were used to disinfect and deodorize latrines, sewers, slaughter houses and morgues.1 The first recorded use of chlorine bleach as a medical disinfectant was recorded at the Vienna (Austria) General Hospital when staff began using it to keep “childbed fever,” a severe infection that killed countless women after they gave birth, from spreading throughout the maternity ward.2 During World War I, a diluted solution was used for open wound irrigation and is still in use today as an effective treatment against multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is also used to disinfect dialysis equipment, some surgical equipment, surfaces in hospitals and medical labs, and even some medical waste.

Explanation Discovered in 2008

The effectiveness of bleach as a broad spectrum disinfectant has been known for nearly 200 years. In 2008, Ursula Jakob led a research team that discovered why. It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like a boiled egg. The researchers were studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33. This protein becomes active when cells are in distress, similar to that of a high fever. When the researchers exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure. Many of these proteins are essential for bacterial growth. Inactivating them will likely kill the bacteria. Further, they discovered that in response to infection, the human immune system produces a strong oxidizer, hypochlorous acid, generated by white blood cells, which helps destroy bacteria. The same chemical hypochlorous acid, is in Bleach.3 In addition to disinfecting surfaces, bleach is often stored to be used to disinfect water in a disaster situation. The problem is that bleach degrades quickly. Clorox Bleach representatives recommend storage for about 6 months at temperatures between 50 and 70º F. After this time, it begins to degrade at the rate of 20% each year and could end up as salt water.4 Instead of storing  liquid bleach, store calcium hypochlorite in granular form. Pure calcium hypochlorite, is one of the best chemical disinfectants for water. It destroys yeast, other fungi,and viruses as well as bacteria. A 1-pound bag will treat up to 10,000 gallons of drinking water.5                  References

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Germain_Labarraque
2.  http://home.howstuffworks.com/bleach2.htm
3.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/11/13/us-bleach-idUSTRE4AC68720081113
4. http://www.brainstuffshow.com/blog/does-chlorine-bleach-ever-expire-or-go-bad-important-in-emergency-situations/
5. http://survivaltopics.com/better-than-bleach-use-calcium-hypochlorite-to-disinfect-water/

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015

March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13252

How Bleach Kills Germs http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13270

Salt – Fact or Fiction     http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13279

Onions More Benefits Than You Know  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13282

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13153

Every Day Uses for WD-40  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13288

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13294

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13297

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies

 

Sprouting seeds

Top left to right: Peas, Mung Beans; Bottom left to right: Lentils and Wheat Photo: RustyBuggy.com

Sprouts are one of the most concentrated natural sources for all life’s building blocks. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, amino-acids, and trace elements. Seed sprouting is a capability everyone has, no matter where you live. It is a simple technique and with only the need for clean water, requires no energy to prepare.1 As a matter of fact, you can sprout seeds while you’re on the move, if necessary and will create no cooking odor to give away your position.

For survival preparation and self reliance, there are few better foods. Sprouting seeds can be stored for a long time – up to four years at stable 70º F, and even longer if stored in a colder environment. From time to time we test our supply for viability simply by sprouting some. Buy them in bulk and package them yourself in glass canning jars with rubber ringed lids. These will keep out vermin.2 Sprouted seeds increase in nutritional value exponentially over cooked dried seeds. Being natural nutrition, the components will fully penetrate the cell membranes and even help oxygenate cells.

 

Nutrition Packed and Ready to Go

In a survival situation and you’re hungry now, simply soaking seeds, nuts, grains or legumes in water for 30 minutes will activate some enzymes, increasing their nutritional value.3  Starch begins to disappear and is replaced by enzymes and an increased quality of protein, fat, certain amino acids, total sugar and B-group vitamins appear.4

Sprout different types of seeds to add more variety into your diet. In addition to good nutrition, many studies are showing that they have health benefits to protect us from diseases. Some sprouts have components that lower bad cholesterol and fat. Others offer protection against cancers. Alfalfa, broccoli and soybeans have been extensively studied.5

Preparedness Pro recommends 15 pounds of veggie seeds and 5-6 pounds protein seeds per adult for a year’s supply. For more information on how to start sprouting, see Sprouting 101.

References

1. http://survival5x5.com/?p=1954
2. http://www.naturalnews.com/031805_sprouts_emergency_food.html
3. http://www.preparednesspro.com/the-sprouting-solution
4.  http://www.2012-spiritual-growth-prophecies.com/survival-food.html
5. http://sproutpeople.org/sprouts/nutrition/science/#advantages

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015

 

March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13252

How Bleach Kills Germs http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13270

Salt – Fact or Fiction     http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13279

Onions More Benefits Than You Know  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13282

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13153

Every Day Uses for WD-40  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13288

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13294

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/13297

Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking – The Possibilities are Endless



     Use Your Sun Oven® To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables, Dry Fish and Meats

Sun drying is an economical method of food preservation. Anything you see dried on your grocer’s shelves, you can dry. If you grow it, you can be assured of maximum freshness and food value. Dried items require no additional energy to store and can be kept for extended periods.

Dried fruit can be mixed with cereal or granola, or with nuts and seeds to make energy bars, if you can stop eating them when the drying process is complete. Dip fruit like peaches or apples in Fruit-Fresh® to preserve the color. Most dried vegetables can be easily rehydrated in soups or by soaking them in water for 10 minutes to an hour.

Drying meat or fish may take up to two days. Sun drying will keep the odor out of your house. Leave meat in the oven and seal the latches, this will suspend the drying process and keep bugs from getting into the oven. Finish the drying process the next day. This is a great way to make deer jerky.

Place your SUN OVEN® outdoors in a sunny place, facing south. The multi-level racks can be covered with parchment paper, filled with sliced items (the thinner the slice, the quicker the drying), and stacked inside the SUN OVEN® on the leveling tray. Turn one of the latches inward and set the glass on top leaving a gap between the glass and gasket allowing moisture to escape. The ideal temperature for drying is between 110 and 150 degrees F. Keep the temperature low to avoid cooking the food.

 

Billie Nicholson, editor
March 2013

 

After Drying

6 Steps to Drinkable Water

Purify drinking water

Water purification in Indonesia, wikipedia

Need drinking water and have no SUN OVEN® or water filter? Remember these six steps to more   drinkable water.

  1. Locate a clear plastic beverage bottle.
  2. Look for the recycle symbol with the number 1 inside it, marked PET. This type bottle can be used for water purification.
  3. Collect clear water with low sediment, pour into the plastic bottle.
  4. Cap the bottle and shake it well.
  5. Leave the bottle in direct sunlight for at least six hours; longer if weather is overcast or water is cloudy.
  6. After six hours in sunlight, you will have bacteria free water – UV rays kill all harmful bacteria. Depending on your water source, this water should be drinkable.

Remember that this method of water filtering doesn’t remove chemicals or viruses, but in many cases those aren’t the top concern in an emergency water situation.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_disinfection

Billie Nicholson, editor
March 2013

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