Archive for the ‘foraging’ Category

Purslane or spurge

September 1, 2009

This is going to be a very important blog entry.  Purslane is so important and so tasty that it deserves its own entry.   These two plants, purslane and spurge are very widespread.  Purslane tastes really good. Other than wild berries I think that purslane is my favorite foraging food. Learn this plant.  It could save your life.  Purslane grows near you.

This is purslane. b4It has red stems and kind of fat leaves.  It kind of reminds me of a succulent like a jade plant.  Purslane used to be a garden plant, but now it has escaped and even grows out of the cracks in my driveway.  It seems to like sunny, sandy soil.  Interestingly enough purslane is also very nutritious as it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like seafood.

In nature it seems like similar plants grow near one another.    For example, the cure for poison ivy, jewel weed, grows near poison ivy.  And spurge grows near purslane.  You don’t want to eat spurge.  This is spurge.

b5Like purslane, spurge kind of has red stems too, but if you look closely you can see that the stems of spurge are more woody and thin.  Spurge radiates out from the center in a circle.  Purslane is an erect plant growing upright.  Spurge crawls along the ground.  Purslane has thickish jade plant like leaves and spurge leaves are thin growing across from one another on the stem.

Here’s another shot:

b1At the top is purslane and at the bottom is spurge.  You can see the difference right? I’m telling you purslane is one of the best wild edibles that you can forage.

This lemony, crisp nutritional powerhouse is neither, it’s actually a succulent. This accounts for its resemblance to a jade plant, and its water content. Many describe it as similar to arugula or spinach. It’s less bitter than arugula and less tannic than spinach. It can be prepared in many of the same ways as either.  In terms of nutrition, it’s a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. More good news: recent research has confirmed that purslane is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “Purslane is one of the richest sources of ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is a precursor to DHA. In other words, if you can’t eat fish, purslane helps fight heart disease and stroke, too.”

Did you get that, if you can’t eat fish eat purslane to fight heart disease and stroke.  Easting purslane is like taking fish oil.

b6And the spurge plant ripped up on tossed on my driveway.  Now spurge is a weed and I shed no tear as it meets a drying death.

b7And purslane and now you have to be able to identify purslane and its close non-edible neighbor spurge.  Also, when you break a spurge stem it emits a white sap.  You can always ID spurge from it’s milky white sap.

Purslane also has a ton of medicinal properties,

Purslane has long been considered of value in the treatment of urinary and digestive problems. The juice has diuretic effects. 2 Purslane is also considered to be a “cooling aid” and cleansing stimulant of the kidneys, helpful in the bladder for urinary tract infection. The plant’s mucilagenous properties make it useful in GI problems. Besides having vermicidal properties, purslane has been reported to possess antifungal effects, with marked activity against the genus Trichophyton. The phenolic constituents of the plant exhibit antimicrobial effects.  Purslane, placed in animal feed, prevents diarrhea as well as provides immunostimulation in patient. Other sources mention purslane as effective in treating hookworms and amoebic dysentery. Clinical dataPurslane in a combination mouthwash demonstrated antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory effects. Skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or sunburn may benefit from purslane. Other uses of the plant include a poultice for backache/dysmenorrhea; 1 neuropharmacological actions; and in cosmetics as a gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) source.

So GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY © and find yourself some purslane.

Health Insurance Inc.

August 20, 2009

On August 17, 2009 the DOW went down something like 180 points.  Most stocks tanked.  However some stocks performed pretty well that day.  People that are generally in favor of more competition.  Some people also think the government does a lousy job at most things.  I’m still amazed that I can send a letter from here to Alaska for 44 cents and that it will get there in a few days.

So Obama had a plan to allow the government to set up a health insurance program that could introduce some competition into the private marketplace.  In case you haven’t noticed there isn’t a whole lot of competition in the health insurance marketplace.  It’s basically run like an oligoply.  That is there are few players due to high barriers to entry.

So people that are generally in favor of competition and think the government does a sucky job are opposed to the government competing with private health insurers.

You can imagine how fearful private health insurance corporations are of the government offering services.  Just like drug dealers who don’t like other dealers trading on their turf, private health insurance corporations are deathly afraid of losing business to government.  They want to protect their own trade.  Remember private companies like Aetna, CIGNA and Humana care about profits before all other things.  Your health isn’t even a second though.  First thought is profits and the second thought is shareholders.

So on August 17, 2009 the market tanked.  It went down 2% or so.  This was also the day that Obama said he would take the public option (government offered insurance) off of the table, or so the rumor mill swirled.

What stocks do you suppose did great on the day when most others fell, health insurers.  As soon as the public option was removed from consideration the health insurers rebounded because they know that they don’t have to compete.  Sorta like a drug dealer that caps his competition.  When everyone else tanked Aetna, CIGNA and Humana all had a banger of a day because competition was stifled.  Each of these stocks went up about 5% on a day that the broader market was hit by large declines.

Don’t be a tool of for profit health insurance corporations.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!! ©

I written about burdock a few times and explained the many medicinal uses of it so I figured I’d show a couple pics of second year plants in flower.

p1010002Do you recognize these burrs/  Have you pulled them off of your dog or yourself after a ramble in the woods?

p1010003Well now you can spot this plant and now you know that the roots from the first years plants and the young leaves are both edible.  So supermarkets even sell burdock root.  Also, burdock root is a major ingredient in may traditional Chinese medicines.

Check it out! Personal security and pokeweed.

August 6, 2009

Check it out. We go through our life like automatons.  Not the way to be.  Be conscious and aware of your surroundings and each of the thousands of little decisions you make every day.  Don’t be a bystander in your life.  Be an aware and willing participant.  Check it out.

Think of how many things you do automatically everyday.  Really, stop for a second and think of them all.  Stop it.  Slow down and stop and before taking any action ask yourself why, whether it is necessary and should be done.

An example may help to bring it to life.  You wake up every morning to the sound of your alarm clock buzzing.  Then you pour a cup of coffee into your travel mug.  You go outside and get into your car.  You drive the 27 1/2 minutes to work.  Then you park your car and head into the office building where you work.   Five days a week you go into the lobby of the building and push the up button for the elevator.    The elevator door slides open and you step inside to push the button to the eighth floor. Only then do you realize that there are already two unsavory characters inside of the elevator.  The doors slide closed and the thugs move towards you.

Before getting on an elevator, check it out.  Don’t get on automatically.  Check it out. Look in the corners where someone could step out of view.  If there is someone on there that you don’t like the looks of then don’t get on.  Point being, make a decision whether to get on the elevator or not.  Don’t just do it without thinking about it.  Don’t be looking down at your Blackberry, morning newspaper or cell phone.  Look up where you are going.

Same thing for getting off the elevator.  When the doors swing open just don’t step out.  Have a looksy first to make sure that the floor isn’t on  fire or taken over by zombies.

If you are in the city and flag down a cab.  Well I know you must be white because cabs don’t stop for black people.  So there you are a white guy flagging down a cab.  The cab pulls over, you open the door and get inside.  Before getting in a cab check it out.   Make sure that the hackney license is hanging and that the driver looks safe.  Check it out.

Parking garages and parking lots are a couple of other places that you shouldn’t be acting like an automaton.  If you just pulled in and parked your car check out the garage before unlocking your car door and getting out. [You do keep your car doors locked correct?!?!] While you are sitting in your car look around.  Observe if there are any posts around you where someone could hide or a large van someone could be behind.  Look in your review mirrors to see if anyone is around or approaching your car.   Shut off your car and listen.   Once you open your car door have another look behind your car and listen to see if you hear anyone approaching.  Only then should you get out of your vehicle.  Point being don’t just pull into a parking garage and jump out of your car like some hayseed rube.  Stop and think about what you are doing.

When you hear a knock at the front door do you just answer it without asking who it is? Don’t. Stop, think and check it out.  Ask who is there.  Even better get a peep hole or look out a window to see who it is rather than giving yourself away by asking, ‘who’s there.’  Even when you get back to your own home don’t just unlock the front door and rush inside, pause for a second before entering.  Have a look to make sure that the place isn’t ransacked or filled with smoke.  Every time I exit the bathroom at my house I open the door and before stepping out into the hallway I look both ways.  Laugh if you want, but I won’t be surprised.

So I hope that you get the idea to not just walk, but to really look, observe and think about where you place each foot for each step that you take in all aspects of your life. Anytime that you are entering or exit a building or vehicle you should stop, wait, look and listen.    Live deliberately.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

Pokeweed.  This is the stem from a pokeweed plant.  It’s big and green and thick and beefy.  You can see the leaves are big succulent looking ovals.

q12Pokeweed can grow  eight or ten feet tall.  You can see the leaves are smooth and toothless.  Here is the bloom of the pokeweed.

q7Eventually each of these little white flowers will develop into a green berry about the size of a pea.  The berries are kind of flatish with almost like a cross on one end.  Then the berries ripen into a really pretty purple color, almost black.  The berries are used to make a natural fabric die.  One look at the ripe berries and you’ll know why they make a good die.  I’ll post some pictures of the ripe berries in a few more weeks once they ripen.  All parts of the mature pokeweed plant are poisonous, but the young shoots make a tasty green.  You need to cook the young shoots in a couple changes of water to get the poisons out.  You c an’t eat this plant after it is 6 inches tall so you need to be able to spot the young growth poking up at the beginning of the spring.  So you can eat the young shoots after boiling them in at least two changes of water.  Anything this poisonous also has medicinal uses.  The roots were poulticed for arthritis, swelling and inflammation.  A poultice made from the root is so poisonous that it’s used for scabies and ringworm.

“If some of y all never been down south too much
I’m gonna tell you a little about this so that you’ll Understand what I’m talkin’ about …

To understand what we talking about
Down there we have a plant that grows like a turnip green
And everybody calls it poke salad … poke salad
Used to know a girl lived down there and she’d go out
In the evenings and pick her a mess of it, carry it
Home and cook it for supper, cause that’s about all they
Had to eat, but they did all right.

Down in Lou’siana,
Where the alligators grow so mean,
There lived a girl that
I swear to the world,
Made the alligators look tame

Poke Salad Annie
Poke Salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was a workin on the chain gang
I mean, vicious

Her daddy was lazy and no count
Claimed he had a bad back
And all her brothers were fit for
Was stealin watermelons out of my truck patch

Poke Salad Annie
The gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was a workin on the chain gang
A wretched, spiteful ( (?))

Every day ‘fore suppertime
She’d go down by the truck patch
And pick her a mess o’ poke salad
And carry it home in a tote sack

Poke Salad Annie
The gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her Mama was a workin on the chain gang

Sock a little poke salad to me
You know I need me a mess of it

Sock a little poke
Sock a little ah ah ah
Sock a little oh oh oh
Sock a little ah ah ah ah ah ah

Poke Salad Annie
Poke Salad Annie
The gators got your granny

Poke Salad Annie
Poke Salad Annie
The gators got your granny”

Poke Salad Annie by David Hallyday

Jewel Weed

August 4, 2009

Jewel Weed deserves its own post.  This is a very useful medicinal plant.  It works

04This is what the plant looks like.  See the kind of oval toothy leaves and the yellow flowers.

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These are the stems of Jewel Weed.  See how they look kind of ratty with most of the new growth happening at the top of the plant.

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The stems look kind of like green straws of water if that makes sense.   Also notice how at the bottom of the stem it’s kind of red and the roots start above the soil.

They  call it Jewel Weed because rain water collects on the leaves and is supposed to look like little jewels.

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This is a good picture of the Jewel Weed flower.  See the jewels of water drops on the leaves.

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d4See how the flower look like old fashioned lady’s slippers or elf shoes with a curled toe.  If you look real close you can see that the Jewel Weed flower has little orange spots.

Jewel Weed typically grows in kind of shady wet spots.  It can frequently be found growing in the same habitat that poison ivy does.

Okay, now that you can spot Jewel Weed you gotta know what it’s good for.  The juice from the Jewel Weed stem is good for skin stuff like poison ivy, mosquito bites and bee stings.  If you have a skin issue Jewel Weed can probably help to heal you.   The juice can be squeezed right out of the stem onto your skin.  The plant contains lawsone which is known as a anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine.  “A 1957 study by a physician found it effective in treating 108 of 115 patients.”  Foster and Duke, Peterson Field Guide (2000).  I read that you can eat the cooked young greens, but I’ve never tried them. z I bet they would be good because the plant reminds me a bit of spinach.  I’ve always thought of the plant though as a remedy for skin ailments.  All you do is rip up a stem and squeeze the juice (like from an aloe) and spread it on your rash, bite or sting.

Now go forth and GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

d8One last picture of the Jewel Weed.  See how the top has been grazed off, most likely by deer.  Remember this plant.  It’s mroe effective than Calamine.

Health care tort reform and yarrow

July 29, 2009

Part of health insurance reform is tort reform.  We hear a lot of people talk about tort reform and how tort reform is necessary.  I worked for three years in a very prestigious plaintiff’s litigation firm.

Three big points to make.

1. Everyone is against lawsuits until a battery explodes in their face, a stairway collapses under their feet, a surgeon leaves forceps inside your belly or a radiologist misses a radiolucent lump in your brain.  Then as soon as someone perceives that they’ve been hurt they come running to a lawyer to fix their problem.  My point is that just like government provided economic benefits, you are against the other guy’s, not your own.  You want tort reform for them, not for you.  Look at the example of Tom Delay (Scumbag-TX), when his own father was hurt they wasted no time filing a lawsuit. Not to be out done you also have the example of Rick Santorum (Dirtbag-PA),

“Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., says that the No. 1 health care crisis in his state is medical lawsuit abuse and in the past he’s called for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards or awards for pain and suffering. “We need to do something now to fix the medical liability problem in this country,” he declared at a rally in Washington D.C., this past spring.  But Santorum’s wife sued a doctor for $500,000 in 1999. She claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering, and sued for twice the amount of a cap Santorum has supported.”

So just like I said everyone is for reform as long as it only restricts the other guy and not you personally.  You should see how people come running to lawyers as soon as they think they have “a case.”

2. The plaintiff’s bar accepts cases on contingency.  You know what this means?  Contingency means that a lawyer gets paid only if she wins.  The lawyer getting paid is contingent on them winning the case.   This is a big deal.  Expert witnesses in cases can cost $5,000 or even $10,000 for a single day!!  Plus they always want to be put up in the most expensive hotel rooms.  A big case can go on for two or three years.  There has to be depositions, which are expensive.  Maybe the lawyer wants some of his own testing done or he ma need to hire a PI to do some footwork.   Plus there can be tens, hundreds or even thousands of hours put into a big case.

The whole time that the case is pending the secretary needs to be paid, rent needs to be paid, insurance needs to be paid, utilities need to be paid.  You get the idea.  All of this money is out of the lawyer’s own pocket.  If he loses the case he not only is out all of his out of pocket expenses, but he never gets paid for his time.  ZERO.

So lawyers will only accept cases that have a very good chance of being successfully pleaded.  A lawyer will not accept a marginal case, because they can work for years and pay tens of thousands of dollars in out of pockets expenses and than never get paid because they lose the case.

Would you work on contingency?

3. It is very difficult to win a case.  The jury pool has been pretty well corrupted.  The insurance industry, big business and their paid servants in Congress have been sure to inform everyone of run away jury awards, the hot coffee case and every aberrant two standard deviations out of the norm award.  It is very tough to win a jury case.  Questions of doubt are answered in favor of the defendant.  The plaintiff needs to convince everyone.  The defense just needs to convince one.

Don’t easily give up your right to seek a redress for your injuries.  Those of you opposed to government involvement in the health care system, those who cry socialism, are you prepared tohave the same government set caps on lawsuit damages?  It’s a bad idea.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

This is yarrow.  It used to be called names like soldier herb or knight’s wort because yarrow can stop bleeding.  Yarrow is one of our most useful herbal remedies.  It is particularly good for women and the problems they may have related to menopause and menses.   It is worth reading up on.

02This is a nice shot to show you how you can identify yarrow.  Notice the leaves look fernlike.  Each leaf is almost feathery.  It’s latin name is something like millefoil.  The prefix mille means something like thousands, same prefix as millipede, because millipedes got 1,000 legs.  Well yarrow has 1,000 leaves, each leaf is like 1,000 sub-leaves.

Here is a pic of it blooming.

oDon’t confuse it with wild carrot.  The leaves and flowers are different.  A yarrow poultice is used to stop bleeding.  Yarrow tea is used for colds, fevers and internal bleeding.  It’s also known as an anti-inflammatory.  So get your own field guides and look up yarrow.  Yarrow is a must for your herbal remedy toolbox.

Legalize it!!

July 27, 2009

The time has come to legalize It.  It being marijuana.   “Calif. tax officials: Legal pot would bring $1.4B”  Think Cali can use that kind of money?  How about your own state?  Hell, even the Republican governor has admitted to smoking pot at one point in his life.    “The Equalization Board used law enforcement and academic studies to calculate that about 16 million ounces — or 500 tons — of marijuana are consumed in California each year.” WOW!!

So on the one hand states are missing out on billions in tax revenues, on the other hand enormous sums of money are being spent by the federal and state governments to further perpetuate the illegality of marijuana.  Billions are spent every year to keep a plant illegal.

“In 2007 the Department of Justice reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United States; the report also stated that there were  more drug abuse arrests than any other category of offenses. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.4% of the drug abuse arrests. This allows us to estimate that about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession.”

This is not only an economic issue for state governments, but it is also a liberty issue for private citizens.  Consenting adults should be able to do pretty much anything they want that doesn’t impact others.   The cops like it though.  The seizure of private property prior to conviction and roadblocks are further intrusions on citizens’ rights.  Why give the cops another reason to interact with citizens.

Pot also isn’t the gateway drug anymore than milk and cookies.  How many heroin junkies started with milk n’ cookies?

Since pot was first criminalized do you think a single person has been denied due to marijuana’s banned status.  Kids in elementary school and prisoners in jail all have access to the illegal weed.  Goes to show all the money spent on cops, prisons, judges, and brand spanking new cop toys is wasted money.  Prohibition does not work.  Prohibition puts a substance in the control of criminals and drives up the market price.

Making pot illegal only serves to benefit: cops, prisons, lawyers and politicians.  The fastest way to cure all of the violence in Columbia and Mexico and American cities is to take drugs out of the hands of criminals.  How do we accomplish that overnight? LEGALIZE IT.

So there you go six simple arguments to legalize It.

1. issue of personal liberty and self-determination, legalizing It would help to limit Big G Government intruding into our private affairs.  Why give them another excuse?

2. It isn’t nearly as dangerous as those with beholden interests make it out to be;

3. opportunity cost of lost tax revenues;

4. direct costs of keeping pot illegal;

5. indirect costs of giving kids a permanent record and the loss of student loans;

6. the ineffective War on Drugs has been an utter and total failure.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

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Pretty gold finch feather.  I saw blue jay feather yesterday that was as blue as the bluest sky.   Really pretty amazing.  We were sitting outside the other day and four yellow finches were flying around us putting on an acrobatic flying show.

This is the flowerhead of staghorn sumac.  I posted a winter picture of it back when snow was covering the ground.  You’ve seen these before haven’t you.  Usually you see them in areas that have been previously disturbed.  Like me.  The plants are kind of hairy.  Like me.

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You can make a sort of lemonade from the red berries by picking off the red flowerhead and soaking a bunch of them in cold water.  Use maybe 6-8 flowerheads per big pitcher of water.  Always use cold water and then strain it through  a coffee filter or something to strain out all of the little red hairs.  You can add sugar if you want to. “Of 100 medicinal plants screened for antibiotic activity, this species [staghorn sumac] was most active, attributed to conetent of gallic acid, 4-methoxygallic acid, and methyl gallate.” Foster & Duke, Peterson Field Guide.

Cambridge PD & Dr. Gates

July 24, 2009

I felt like I had to write about this story because it’s been ubiquitous this week.  If you haven’t heard a black professor from Harvard was arrested on the doorstep of his own house.  The story is that this older professor of African American Studies, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, PD*30233165came home from a trip abroad and the front door of his Harvard provided mansion was swollen shut from the humidity.  It sounds like he and his driver tried to force the front door open with their shoulders.  A neighbor saw two men trying to force open the door and called the Cambridge PD.   Doctor Gates went around back and crawled through a window.  He then came around front and opened the front door.   By then the PD were there.  He showed his ID that proved he lived in the house.  Maybe the cop wasn’t satisfied.  Who knows.  Dr. Gates mouthed off to the cop.  It’s reported that he said such things as: ‘this is because I’m black’ and ‘do you know who I am’ and ‘I’ll talk to your momma out front’ meaning the cop’s momma.  Dr. Gates is black and the arresting officer is white.

Dr. Gates ended up being arrested for disorderly conduct. The cop wrote in his police report that Dr. Gates was out of control.  I know the Police fabricate and stretch the truth in their police reports.  They know what they need to write and what they need to include in their reports in order to help the DA convict. The Police are only too happy to oblige.

I have no doubt that Dr. Gates may carry a chip on his shoulder AND RIGHTFULLY SO.  Which means all the more reason to be careful when mouthing off to the Police.  Always remember the Police are the sole of the jackboot of Government.

So there has been all of this talk on the Internet, newspapers, Big M Media and radio talkshows about whether the Police were right or whether Dr. Gates was picked on for being black.

I don’t see it as a black white thing. I don’t care if it’s a white cop and a black defendant.  Dr. Gates was wrong.  This is all about Authority exerting its Authority. The cop said that he had to deescalate the situation and that the best way of doing this was to arrest the old professor on his own porch.  I think the cop would have arrested a white guy too and that is the crux of the problem.

No the best way to deescalate the situation would have been for the cop to leave once he saw proof positive that Dr. Gates was the occupant of the house and not a burglar.   Instead, the cop being a cop felt as though he had to stay there and argue with this guy.  Just leave.

The cop had to prove that he was right.  I wasn’t there, but I can see it now, because I’ve seen it many times before.  The cop probably told him to calm down and quiet down.  Just leave.  If you  are provoking someone’s behavior STOP IT. Cops being what they are the cop had to prove that he was in charge and the Keeper of the Authority.  I mean why else wear the uniform if you don’t want to exert authority.

So no I don’t see this as a black white thing.  This is about the Police arresting a man on his own porch. If the Police were hassling you on your own porch wouldn’t you tell the cops F&uck Off?  That would drive me nuts too.  The Police coming right into my own private lair and hassling me.   Ruby Ridge anyone?  Branch Davidians?

So don’t get drawn into the headline that the Media feeds you.  This isn’t a racial thing.  This is a Government Exerting Its Authority Against The Governed Thing.  If it can happen to a well dressed, older Harvard professor with a PhD basically on the campus of Harvard in Cambridge than it can happen to you.   It can happen to you on your own porch.

Lessons to learn:

  • Don’t believe the story you are told by the Media.  Try to look at the story through your own eyes.
  • Don’t mouth off to the Police unless you need a place to stay for the night.
  • The Police can come up to your door at anytime for any reason and hassle you.
  • The Police can handcuff you, throw you in the back of a car and spirit you away for any reason or no reason at all.
  • You can be arrested for disorderly conduct on your own porch or front lawn.
  • Check who is at the door before opening.  Better to even look if you can and be silent than announcing your presence by asking, “who is there?”
  • The Government and its agents are getting more aggressive.
  • It can happen to You.
  • Know a good defense lawyer.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

Just as the Police are the Police, summer is summer.  And summer being what it is there are so many different plants happening now that I’m going to have to have some posts just on plants.  I want to do one on Purslane in the near future.  Personally I think Purslane is my favorite foraging food. Yummy! I should also do a post on Jewelweed because it’s also useful.   Anyways….

c1I hope your recognize this as beautiful blueberries.  These are lowbush blueberries and are only a foot or foot and a half tall.   These aren’t the big super fertilized blueberries that you buy in a store.  These berries are about the size of a pea, maybe even smaller.  I’ve also been told that you can tell edible blueberries from the non-poisonous ones by the little crown on the blossom end of the fruit.  If you don’t know what I mean look at the following picture.

c3Now if you look at these berries notice how the part of the berry away from the stem end has a little crown on it where the flower used to be attached.  it looks a little like a donut shape.  That’s how I was always told to tell blueberries from pooberries.  A pooberry being one that gives you the shits.

I thought this would be a good berry year because of all the rain we had, but unfortunately it has been a pretty slim berry year.  Lesson learned here is don’t every count your crops before they’re harvested and cured, pickled, canned, dried or stored safely away.

Anyways, the Indians used to dry these out and mix them with ground dried meat, maybe some ground nuts and some rendered fat to make pemmican.  Pemmican is ultra high calorie and fat survival food.  You can also make tasty juices.  Blueberry is supposed to be a super food.  I used to spend hours collecting blueberries and making wine from them.

Gay marriage & wild grapes

July 22, 2009

This is a sensitive topic I know.  The grapes come after the waxing philosophical.  If you don’t want to be subjected to my mini-rant on gay marriage then skip below to the GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY part.  Last chance to leave or skip down to the Wild Grapes part before you are subjected to the rant.

I knew that you couldn’t resist reading the rant.  You don’t even know if I’m pro or con gay marriage.  I’m not gay.  I don’t care who is.  I live in Massachusetts.  Gay marriage has been legal here for more than five years.  Massachusetts is the same now as before gay marriage was authorized.  That’s right, my straight marriage isn’t under attack.  The streets aren’t filled with militant gays and lesbians.  Things are as bucolic as ever in Massachusetts.  Heck, if you were a space alien visiting from another galaxy you wouldn’t have any clue that gay marriage is allowed.

A couple of points to make here:

1. Allowing loving people to marry each other doesn’t mean the end of Western Civilization.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is just as screwed up now as it was before gay marriage became legal.  NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  I think the present Speaker of the House is under indictment just like the last Speaker of the House.

2. What business is it of anyone’s which adults can marry which adults?  MYOB!! The gays want nothing to do with you or your kids.  I think they would like nothing better than to be left alone.  While I’m at it I think the Mormons got a bad rap too.  I don’t know why someone would want more than one spouse, but more power to you.

3.  Gays aren’t indoctrinating anyone into the lifestyle anymore than you were indoctrinated into being straight.

4. Your way of life, our way of life, the straight way of life is not under attack.

5. No one is going to force any church to solemnize a gay marriage.

6. Just like the American Revolution and Civil War were fought more over economics than principal, recognition of gay marriage has more to do with economics than anything else.  It has to do with access to health insurance, survivorship benefits, health care and pensions.

I’m not sure that this is a state’s right issue, any more so than if a state refused to recognize marriage between different races or ethnicities.    I do agree that marriage has always been relegated to the states.   However, just as laws against miscegeny were struck down by SCOTUS in 1967 in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, so should state laws barring gays from marrying.

I like to mind my own business in the hopes that others will mind their own business too.  If the gays don’t bother me, which they usually don’t, then I won’t bother them. Deal?

After five years of legal gay marriage in Massachusetts I can tell you that you have nothing to fear from gays getting married.   At least to me life seems the same.

Hey you are free to disagree with me.  Reasonable people can disagree, as long as no one is getting hurt.  Oh, and in a survival situation no matter how you feel about gay marriage pro or con, I hope you know to keep your opinion to yourself.  Opinions can be dangerous things.  It’s usually much safer to be agreeable and bide your time.  Speaking out can get you killed.  It’s better to be a survivor than be right. In a survival situation  stop worrying about being right and focus on surviving.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY! © Now for the wild grapes.  I was out walking the dog through the woods and saw some wild grapes in a little clearing.  It would have been easy to walk right past them, but like I always preach, you gotta keep your eyes and your mind open.   Your mind has to be open to observe what your eyes are seeing.  It is easy to look right past things without seeing them.

P1010004So what is there to say about wild grapes.  They’re pretty easy to ID.  You can see the stem is kind of reddish purple.  If you look closely the stem almost looks like paper peeling up in a few places.

Another good way to tell wild grape from Virginia Creeper is because grapes have a three lobed leaf. I don’t know if lobe is the correct word, but if you look you can see that the leaf is genuinely divided into three segments.

P1010008Virginia Creeper which looks like wild grape, but shouldn’t be eaten has a five or seven lobed/segmented leaf.  I think you can drink the water from cut grape vines too, but if wild grape is growing you know that there is water nearby.  Wild grapes don’t grow where it’s dry.

I liked this picture too because it looks cool, but also shows another good way to ID wild grape.

P1010007Isn’t this a beautiful picture the way the light is shining through the canopy of grape vines?  Go ahead and click on it to make it big.  So anyways another good way to ID grape is because its tendrils, those are the things that grab onto to other things to climb.  It’s the grape’s way of getting more into the sun.  Anyways, the tendrils on wild grape are binary.  See how there are like four or five pair?  Wild grape tendrils grow in pairs. Plus the fruit looks like grape and tastes like grape, tart grape, but grape.  I used to spend a fair amount of time hunting and picking wild grape and then making wild mountain grape wine – strong and sweet.  Oh, and watch those seeds.  I’ve yet to find a seedless wild grape.

There now you have a bunch of ways to positively ID wild grape: bark, tendrils, leaves and fruit.  You can see this fruit isn’t quite ready yet, But the race is now on between the birds and me.  BRING IT ON TWEETY!!

Goldman Sachs & magic mushrooms

July 16, 2009

WTF.  Goldman Sachs is the poster kid of what is wrong with our country.  The blogosphere is alive with folks ranking on Goldman Sachs and with good reason.  First, you have the revolving door between industry and government where folks like Summers, Rubin, Geithner, Paulson, Neel Cash n’ Carry, et al work in private commerce, then they get jobs in the public sector where they change private commercial interests into  public policy then it’s back through the revolving door into private industry to rake in the big bucks.  Or as the NYT wrote, Government Sachs:

“While many Wall Streeters have made the trek to Washington, there is no question that the axis of power at the Treasury Department tilts toward Goldman. That has led some to assume that the interests of the bank, and Wall Street more broadly, are the first priority. There is also the question of whether the department’s actions benefit the personal finances of the former Goldman executives and their friends.”

So this private firm, Goldman Sachs, owned by private investors gets an enormous public bailout totaling BILLIONS of dollars in public funds.   Predictably Goldman Sachs stock goes up,  enriching each private investor.  This was an enormous transfer of wealth from the pockets of hairdressers, grocery baggers, carpenters, teachers, cops, doctors, pet groomers and lawyers into the pockets of the owners of Goldman Sachs.

“Goldman Sachs Group Inc executives sold almost $700 million worth of stock since the collapse of rival Lehman Brothers last year, the Financial Times said on Monday. The newspaper said that most of the stock sales took place while the biggest U.S. investment bank was bailed out by the government with $10 billion of taxpayer money, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

You got that?  Goldman Sachs was sucking because it overextended itself.  The taxpayers bailed it out.  Stock prices went up and executives sold, profited on the backs of taxpayers.

When my business went belly up.  I got no bailout.  I sold everything I had, barely held onto my house and paid the debt off.  In 2007 three bigshots at Goldman each took home more than $70,000,000 in pay EACH.  Then a year later they come to American wage earners with cup in hand.  Ska-Rew!!

So last year right around Thanksgiving Goldman was trading at $52.  Since then on the backs of wage earners it has tripled in value.  Who is getting the benefit of that gain?  It sure as hell isn’t the American wage earner taxpayer who generously contributed to bailing out Goldman.

And of course Goldman is back to paying out million dollar bonuses to the select few while the vast majority of Americans are still suffering through a personal financial crisis.

I’m really not qualified to write on Goldman, for that I turn to someone much better educated than me, Mike Morgan.  I strongly suggest reading Mr. Morgan on a regular basis.

“Shame on Meredith – Today she prostituted herself in her nauseating glowing remarks about Goldman Sachs. What Meredith failed to point out, was exactly how and where Goldman Sachs is making their money . . . on the backs of pension funds, endowments and other fiduciary money that they are manipulating and front running. I should also mention, Meredith has failed to even hint at the problems facing Goldman Sachs as a going concern.”

Then I hear that some trading software was stolen from Government Sachs and that this software would allow the owners to manipulate the marketplace“The 34-year-old prosecutor also dropped this bombshell: “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways.” So Goldman admits to having software that can manipulate markets. Let’s see what happens to them.

Make no mistake about it, there are a very few individuals at the top of the food chain who are running things for their benefitEverything else – Republican, Democrat, Palestinian, Israeli, white, black, gay, straight, pro-life, pro-choice is nothing but frosting.  The real nuts of the matter to the powerful few is the accumulation of wealth and power.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

Okay folks, any mushroom experts out there? I saw this pretty little mushroom so I figured I’d share it.  I think that it is amanita muscaria aka magic mushroom.  I’m not certain because I don’t see the rings around the stem, but I do think that I see the universal veil near the base of the cap, but no rings on the stem.  Any of you know for sure, or have a better educated guess than me?

05This is some summer raspberry growing near my house.

q6

Sorrel or clover

July 6, 2009

Wood sorrel is a tasty wild edible.  It’s so common too that I thought I’d do a post about it.  Many people think wood sorrel is clover.  It’s not.  This is clover.  A useful plant in it’s own right.  You know what clover looks like.  See the round, globe like flower and the oval leaves.

P1010006

And another picture of clover.

P1010005See the round flower and oval leaves in groups of three.

Now here is wood sorrel.

P1010004You see the heart shaped leaves on wood sorrel.  The yellow things are the closed flowers.  When open the flower is simple five or six petaled.  Now look at the middle picture of the clover.  To the left of the clover is some wood sorrel growing.  You can see the heart shaped leaves.

The leaves of wood sorrel are sour tasting kind of citrusy.  I like them as a trail munch when I’m walking or hiking.  If you have a dry mouth a small handful of leaves will temporarily quench your thirst.  You can make a tea by steeping the leaves in some hot water.   The leaf tea is also good for fevers and UTIs.  A small handful or two of the leaves added to a salad will lend some freshness and zing.  Never over do it when eating wild edibles.  Only eat small amounts of anything you find foraging.  Chewing the leaves is also good for sore throats, mouth sores and nausea.

But don’t believe me, get your own field guides and GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!

Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

July 4, 2009

Surfing up in Maine for the weekend so I figured I’d let some other people do the writing for me.

READ IT.  READ IT. READ IT.  READ IT AGAIN. You owe it to every person who has died in the name of the United States.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present [FILL IN THE BLANK] King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Get outside everyday!!

Have you seen these before?  They’re Indian Pipes.  It’s also called the Ghost Plant. Boo!!

p1010009It’s a saprophytic plant, which means that it feeds on dead organic matter. Boo!!  Because it doessn’t have chlorophyl it doesn’t photosynthesize and that’s why it’s white and not green like most plants.  The Native Americans made some powerful potions from the root tea.  It was used for such things as: convulsion, fits and epilepsy.

Deflation my ass

June 25, 2009

Deflation my ass.  Yeah, I’ve heard how much the stock market and real estate and oil prices have fallen.  It’s all nonsense.  The value of what I may have in my 401k doesn’t matter until I go to sell it.  Sure, there may be a psychological shock when I see my holdings lose 30, 40 or 50% like last fall.  And no one likes to see the value of their house fall.

The way the Government measures inflation is a lie.  I don’t need the Government’s number crunchers and statistics to tell me what’s going on.  I know what’s going on.  I got the pocket book metric.  The prices of what I buy weekly though is not falling.  My grocery bill keeps going up.  The price of gas has increased every day for the past month or two.  Insurance is out of control. Even worse my property taxes seem to be increasing faster than bacteria in gelatin.

With the job market the way it is anyone is lucky to hold onto their present job.  I have three jobs now.  Seriously three jobs.  I know lots and lots of people who have been laid off.  I also know that many of them are having a real difficult time finding new work.  Some have been out of work for well over six months.  (Once their unemployment benefits expire they are no longer considered as unemployed in the eyes of the gubmint.)

So with things the way they are there are not too many employers that are increasing salaries.  Lots and lots of people have taken pay cuts in order to keep their jobs.  With such staples as food, gas and insurance going up every day it’s getting damn near impossible to keep up, forget about getting ahead.

The large fall in gas and oil prices since last summer is hiding the true inflation rateMy checking account can’t be fooled though.

And the conventional wisdom is that within the next six to 18 months inflation is going to come ROARING back. Prepare accordingly.  The days of buy and hold are over. IMHO tangibles are the way to go.  Over the past two years a can of soup, razors, TP have all been better investments than market indexed funds.  I think the same will hold true in the coming few years.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

This is the crown of a burdock plant.  If you or your dog has come home with little burrs stuck to your clothes or your dog’s fur this is where they came from.

P1010018I think that this is a first year plant.  Oh, burdock is a biennial, which means the plant’s lifecycle last two years.  The first year of life it establishes itself with a big fat edible root and edible young leaves and the next year it sends up a huge flowerstock that makes those little burrs/seeds.  Pretty ingenious aye.  Those little seeds stick to creatures walking by and that is how burdock spreads itself.   Burdock also has a ton of medicinal uses and is greatly used in traditional Asian medicines.

p1010020If you don’t recognize this plant you are way behind where you should be.  This is obviously sassafras.  You can take the young leaves, dry them and crush them up and use it as a soup thickener.  This powder is known down in mosquito land as file (fillay) powder.  My swamp brothers use it to thicken their gumbos.  You can also take the roots, boil them and make a tasty tea.  I love cold, sweetened sassafras tea during the summer.  It really has a great taste.  You should try some.  Sassafras tea is also medicinally used for many things like gout, arthritis, colds, kidenys and fever.  The sassafras plant is easy to spot because of the shape of its leaves.  They look like mittens.

Be vewy, vewy quiet

June 23, 2009

In general I think the human race, and the world which holds us, would be a far better place if the human species was to do a lot less talking and a lot more listening.  My dog speaks very little, but when he speaks he really means what he says.   Being a man of few words he seems to do just fine.

Just like when you take martial arts or yoga you learn how to breath deeply, you also need to train your senses to take in all that they can.  Maybe you watch, but don’t see, or listen, but don’t hear.  One of the best ways of opening your senses is by laying still.  Just stop.  Stop it.  You can’t listen when you’re making noise.

A refrigerator running all the time adds a constant din to your environment.  And I bet that because you are so used to your refrigerator yelling at you 24/7 that you don’t even notice it.  Try to sit at home without running a TV or radio.  Instead of welcoming or accepting unnecessary noise into your life, be aware of it and at least make a conscious decision whether to have the noise join you.  Don’t let noise be a home invader.  Invite it into your life, or keep it off.

Life in the 21st century is already fast enough without constantly being surrounded by noise.  Civilization emits a loud hum.  Unneeded noise adds stress to your environment.

The next time you are walking outside no talking on the cellphonePut away your Blackberry.  If you run or ride your bike listening to music try to keep the tunes off for a while.  Take that stupid Blue Tooth thing out of your ear.  It makes you look like an idiot anyways.  Hey, friends are honest with each other, right? No texting either.

Think what noise you are subjecting others to.  I know you listen to the most awesomest, bestest rap music ever, but please keep it below 80 decibels.   Sunday morning at 07:30 probably isn’t the best time to weed whack your lawn.  And I know you are proud of your custom Sportster, but your neighbor may be trying to put their sick kid to bed.

Listening more will greatly improve your situational awareness.  Next time you’re outside just stop everything and listen to the birds.  How many different bird calls do you hear?  Listen and than try to watch where the sound is coming from.  See the bird?  Listen to the neighbors yell at their kids to turn down the music.  Listen to what your neighbors are watching on TV.  What are the people in line in front of you talking about.  You’ll be amazed what you hear once you start listening.

I’m not saying that you need to take a vow of silence like some monk.  The next time you speak, pause before you do so and really think about what you are about to say.  Ask yourself is each word necessaryIs it really what you mean to sayBe deliberate with your words.  Choose your words carefully.

When someone is speaking with you, you know having a conversation just listen as deeply as you can.  Breath in what they are saying and stop your mind’s racing thoughts of everything other than what the speaker is saying.

Pass it on, shhhh.  Really, please shhhh.

G E T  O U T S I D E  E V E R Y   D A Y!!

So headed back to the ocean this past weekend.  The waves were good.  I’m trying surfing.  So we have some ocean pictures.

P1010007Here you gots your standard beach pea.  These things grow in the sandiest beach sand imaginable.  And this is the fruit of the beach pea.

p1010008I’ve never eaten them, but I understand that you can boil them and eat them while still hot.  They don’t look very good to me.  I’d have to be pretty hungry to try these peas.

p1010011And here is a beach rose, rosa rugosa.  And the fruit of the beach rose is a beach plum.  Also known as rose hips.

P1010013These beach plums are super high in vitamin c.  They’ll ripen to a nice rich red color.  You can make a tea from them.  I’ve known people to make a cordial by stuffing a mason jar full of rose hips, adding a lot of sugar and topping it all off with good vodka or grain alcohol.  You turn it over every day for three weeks and then drink it down yum.  I bet homemade beach plum cordial would be good for a cold or sore throat.  Folks also make beach plum jelly.

Bug Out Vehicle (BOV)

June 16, 2009

Someone sent me an email with pictures of a great BOV.  Check it out.

ATT00000It reminds me of a Unimog.

ATT00010Looks rugged.  I wonder how the mileage is.

ATT00009Even load a bike on it.

Now check out the inside.  It’s plusher than my house.

ATT00001

ATT00002

ATT00003

ATT00004

ATT00005See the coffee maker built in over the sink?

ATT00006This has to be German or Swedish engineering.  It’s so organized.

ATT00007

ATT00008Get Outside Everyday!!

P1010097Just a little waterfall near me house.  Do you know the places in your AO that are nice to walk?  Do you know all the paths and trails within a few miles of your house?  You know where berries grow wild?

p1010098

Termites Part Dos

June 12, 2009

Got termites?  I hate those little evahl white bastards.  Well what was supposed to be a simple tile change out, you know rip out the old and cement in the new, turned into a major rehab.

P1010050It may be tough to see without clicking on the picture, but in the lower right hand corner you see that stud closest to the right?  No not me that wooden piece of crap hanging from the ceiling.   All the way to the right.  It’s gone.   Imagine our surprise when we ripped out that old vinyl bath liner.   We started at 8AM Sunday and the plan was to rip out everything and rebuild what we needed to all before quitting time that day.  Well the bathroom wall spilled into the drywall in the living room, then the living room floor.  We stopped at 8PM and we were still only 90% done with the demo and didn’t even start reframing.

p1010052You see kind of in the middle of the picture by that single blue tile, so you see all of that chewed up wood that those little evahl white bastards made?  Those studs were like dry newspaper.  You could literally put your finger through the studs.  I’m also happy to get that black mould out of the house.  That can’t be good for you.

So we obviously had to keep ripping out in every direction until we found no more little evahl white bastards.   So now we had the exterminator guy out – cha ching.   Another trip to Big Sucky Orange Store – cha ching.  The plumber – cha ching.  Big Sucky Orange Store – Cha Ching.    Debris disposal – cha ching.  All the tradespeople I know hate the fixtures and supplies that Big Orange Sucky sells.

If you haven’t done the Gee-See thing, general contractor thing that is, then you don’t know how tough it is to coordinate things.   People show up before materials or with the wrong tools.  Surprises come up. E can’t be done until A, B, C and D are finished.

So if you think you have termites, don’t mess around call in a professional.  The little evahl white bastards can wreck your house.

trmvsantWe didn’t get any swarms.  They also say that you can see termites mud tunnels outside of your house.  Termites don’t come for wood; they come for wo0d and water.  So if you have a water leak, or suspect a leak, fix it before the wood frame gets wet and becomes a target for termites.  Make sure there are no wood products like firewood or wood mulch right up against your house.

The exterminator is going to use termite baits dug into the ground.  There are wooden disks made from wood pulp and a insect growth regulator that keeps the little evahl white bastards from reproducing.  The bug killer will also use spray in some areas and drill some holes through the bathroom floor and inject poisons down there too.  The liquid insecticide they use he said was the same as is in Frontline that some folks put on their dogs and cats.  He said the Frontline was at least ten times stronger than what he uses.

The positive thing is that now I’ll have a nice new bathroom.  Plus I was able to take out all of the old fiberglass insulation and replace it with nice new fluffy thick insulation and also get rid of all that black mould.

So this used to be the wall between the bathroom and the living room.

p1010059So it all had to go.  Also had to rip up a wood laminate floor – Pergo by Manning.  Pergo sucks.  Pergo sucks. Pergo sucks.  Don’t buy Pergo.

Then you got the wall all framed out.  Is it me or has l umber gotten real expensive?

P1010064

Which reminds me, going to the bathroom outside sucks.  Plastic bags and buckets suck.  Not having a hot shower sucks.  Think about how your preps are in the bathroom, bucket and shower department.  Maybe you need to plan for these critical areas.  A dirty ass doesn’t only stink; it’s also unhealthy.

Get Outside Everday!!!

P1010042If you had your own field guides you would know that the multitudes of green berries on this plan don’t make it a greenberry plant.  You would know that this is a blueberry with gobs of immature blueberries.  Go ahead and click on the picture to expand it.  Quite a few berries, huh?  Once they ripen and turn blue you can pick them and dry them in the summer sun.   Should be next month when they start to get pickable.  I used to make wild mountain blueberry wine.  It was a deliciously sweet syrupy concoction.  Then you got ya blueberry pancakes, fritters, waffles, crepes, cookies, muffins with duck breast or pork or in a salad.

My favorite field guides

May 17, 2009

You gotta have a bunch of field guides.  There are field guides available on just about every subject of nature that you can imagine.  I have ones on: bats, animals, rocks and gems, birds, edible plants, medicinal plants, forests, different regions, plants and flowers and wildflowers. The Internet is also a huge resource.  I don’t know how we got by before The Googles were born.

When I walk in the fields and woods I’m always looking around, looking up and down.  If I see something that looks interesting to me and I don’t know what it is I’ll break off a branch or some leaves and bring it home to identify it.  If you do this too then you know that you need to have at least three or four field guides in order to be sure that you identified your subject correctly.

Some field guides will only show a plant when it’s flowering and many plants only flower for a week or two so if you want to identify it the other 50 weeks a year you may be out of luck.  Different field guides have different pictures or drawing and different descriptions.  That’s why it’s good to have a bunch of field guides, so you can cross reference.

One of my readers, (Yeah, I do have a few.) I thank each and everyone of you,  readership is the greatest form of flattery and I don’t ask you to buy my crap either.   Someone asked me to tell you what field guides I use so here it comes…

204670104Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants is by Wildman Steve Brill.  Mr. Brill is the guy that forages and gives classes how to forage Central Park, NYC.    Amazing how much wild food there is growing free and wild in Central Park.  There aren’t any color pictures in this book.  Heck, there aren’t any pictures at all, BUT there are good drawings.  This might not be a good first field guide to get, but it is large and the descriptions and uses of plants are great.  This guide is organized by season.  Mr. Brill is very straightforward he will tell you if a wild plant isn’t worth harvesting.  I particularly like some of the history of the plants that he tells the reader about.  There is even a section with recipes.  It’s 317 pages long and a big book maybe 8 1/2 * 11.

Angier Field GuideAngiers Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants doesn’t have any pcitures either, but the drawings are in color.  This guide is organized alphabetically, which isn’t a lot of help in identifying things, but that’s why you have have to familiarize yourself with all of your field guides, because then when you are walking you will see something that you recognize.  There are good descriptions in this book.  It is 255 pages long and small enough to put in a pack.

Eastern EdiblesGuide to Northeastern Wild Edibles by Kavasch has great color photos.  I think it’s out of print, but you can get used copies off of the Internet.  It is organized by season.  It has a handy feature, a ruler markings inside the back cover, not a big deal, but still a great addition.  It’s really a good guide.  This book is 64 pages and small enough to carry in a pack.

Audubon Eastern ForestsThis isn’t so much a field guide on edible plants as it is a general guide to different types of forests in the Eastern US of A, like Boreal, Transition, Deciduous, Oak-Hickory, etc.  It’s by the Audubon Society so it’s well written and the many, many color pictures are great.  For example, in the tree section there are color pictures of the trees and also drawings of the entire tree outline and the critter section has color pictures and maps to show where the critters reside to help ID them.  It’s 635 pages long and kind of big to carry backpacking for a distance.  Great for a day pack though because you can really have fun with it because all of the bases are covered: trees, birds, mammals, snakes, insects and spiders, mushrooms, wildflowers, butterflies and moths and amphibians.

New EnglandField Guide to New  England is another Audubon book.   This is a more specialized field guide as it is only for New England.  Although, I’m certain that many of the plants also grow near you too.  You can really learn alot about your natural surroundings from this book.  This book at 447 pages is small enough to pack with you.  Not a whole lot of info on edible stuff, but it’s a great all purpose field guide.  The pictures are great and there are multiple pictures on every page.  it’s broken up by: geology, habitats, conservation and ecology, weather (IDing clouds is pretty cool), the night sky (once again pretty cool), flora, invertebrates, vertebrates, park and preserves of the region.

The two coming up are probably the most useful to me.

Peterson EdiblePeterson field guides are good stuff.   In this one of Edible Wild Plants there is only a small section with color pictures, but there are a ton of very good black and white drawings.   If you don’t know what it is you’re looking at and you are trying to ID it the Peterson books make it easiest.  This one on edible plants is organized by: flowering plants, woody plants, miscellaneous plants, finding plants where and when they occur and food uses. The flower section is broken up by flower color and the woody plant section by type of leaf.  It also obviously tells you what parts of each plant is edible and how to prepare it.  If you need to forage this is definitely one book that you want to have. Each description also has symbols which makes it easy to tell a plant’s uses at a glance.  It’s 300 pages and small enough to pack.

Peterson MedicinalThe Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs has multiple color pictures on every page.  This Medicinal Plant field guide is organized by flower color, shrubs, trees, vines, ferns and grasses.   The good pictures make it easy to ID the plants.   Like the previous Peterson guide this one also uses symbols next to the descriptions to make it easy to see the uses.  The best part of this guide is the index to medical topics at the back of the book.  So if you have an ailment you can look it up and find a plant that may ease your symptoms.  The index by medical topic lists things like: abrasion, analgesic, anemia, anticancer, bites, dog, bleeding, blood purifier, carbuncles, cirrhosis, colds and you get the idea.  This book is another MUST HAVE.  It is 411 pages long and small enough to pack.

Get Outside Everyday and put your books into use.  I think the following two pictures are two types of wintergreen.  If you know for sure please let me know.

This I’m pretty sure is Wintergreen.  The next time I see it I’ll have to smell it.  It may be Pipsissiwa too.

P1010004

I looked this one up and I came up with Chickweed Wintergreen, but I’m not convinced.  It looked like Star of Bethlehem, but I know that’s not right.

P1010001

My life

May 7, 2009

Okay, kinda limited stuff going on so just a day in the life of Abraham.  It was a crappy day the other day so I went to the gun club.  I like crappy days because there aren’t a whole lot of people there so I’m able to do my own thing.  When there are lots of people at the club you have to wait for everyone to get synced before you can do your thing.  You know everyone sets their targets at the same time, walks back to the table at the same time, shoot, make safe, gun on table, back to targets.  It’s way too robotic for me and I don’t do well with rules or structure.

So there I was at the 25 yard pistol range.p1010003I wanted to use up some old 38+P that has been banging around in my pockets for a while and in my Model 60.  I also wanted to try out some Corbon 38+P before carrying it everyday.  I’ve heard that the Corbon is a good self-defense load.  It should be, I think I paid like 20 or 25 bucks for 25 rounds!!     DO NOT EVER LOAD YOUR EVERYDAY CARRY WEAPON WITH AMMO THAT YOU HAVE NOT TRIED OUT!! What’s nice about being there when no one else is, is that I can get up close to the target and shoot from three yards, five yards, seven yards and the table too.  I can shoot at different angles also.   I also wanted to try out a couple kinds of .22 subsonic ammo that I had to see if it made little enough noise to shoot in my neighborhood or along the powerlines.  It’s still noisy, but more of a pop than a crack.

g039Next I went over to the 50 yard range and used the Saiga with the reddot and with the iron sights.  It’s tough to shoot at 50 yards without optics.  I can see the target, but I’m basically aiming at the top, bottom, middle or corners of the target.  My eyes are only so good.  Always fun to use the Saiga.  Living in Massachusetts I’m limited to ten round mags, but that’s ok by me.  If I’m ever in the situation where I need a 30 round mag, my first instinct will be to go the other way.  I can’t say enough good things about the Saiga.  It’s not a tackdriver, but it is rugged, rugged, rugged and battle proven.  You can bury it in mud and it will shoot the mud right out of the barrel and out of the ejection port.  It also has very little recoil and shoots a very popular cartridge.  No problem hitting the paper every time at 50 yards. Stop your laughing!

Like most people, one of my first jay-oh-bees was as a dishwasher/busboy.  Everyone should spend some time working in a restaurant or as a housekeeper (I did that too.).  It gives you an appreciation of things and how to treat everyone as equals no matter their station in life.  Anyways, I’m a 13 year old kid, riding my bike to work, working until 11 or 12 at night and riding my bike home.  Hahahaha, imagine kids today doing that!?!?!?!  So on my first day of work, my boss says to me, ‘I don’t care if you come in late.  I don’t care if you leave early.  I don’t care if you are mean to customers. But always, always, always make sure that there is a frosted mug for me.’  This restaurant has been open for more than 30 years.  That’s a long time for a restaurant.  I drove by the other day.

p10100021Yeah, that’s the greenshoots of maybe a new business opening, NOT!  And to quote that genius Freddie Mercury, “And another, and another, and another one bites the dust.”

Get outside everyday!! This is a great time of year because there is so much coming to life.

Here is a mushroom called Hen of the Woods.  I don’t eat mushrooms except in hot n’ sour soup.

p1010050They like to grow on old stumps and trees.  It’s edible, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some more wild edible called fiddleheads.  You ever eat these?  I’m not a big fan of these either, but I guess that just means that I wasn’t hungry enough, aya.

p1010002You can see there are probably 100 of them in this single picture.  They’re baby ferns.  You scrape the fuzz off of them and prepare them like asparagus, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some burdock.  Burdock is one of the most medicinal plants going.  It’s a biennial.  Eat the root or the young leaves.

p10100012You can even see one of the old seedpods laying there.  When you or your dog comes home with these things stuck to you or it, you know there is something edible nearby.  Get a fieldguide and read up on burdock.

Then we have some real yummies coming up too.  I hope you know what these are.

p10100051These are some wild strawberries.    I will remember where these are and try to beat the wildlife to them, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

I also saw some wild morels.  This is a pic from Google Images, but this is what they looked like.  I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.  This is a beautiful picture though.   Morels are so distinctive that when you seem them you know it.

morels300pxI went back two days later with my camera to take a picture and some other SOB got to them before me so they were gone.  Morels are some of the most prized wild food going, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

So the big lesson today –

  • Practice what you preach. Don’t count on anything that you haven’t used or practiced with.  Once again, it’s great to plan what you may carry, but have you actually tired it?  Crap is heavy.
  • Get a bunch of field guides, at least three or four.  Read them, peruse them and study them. You will be amazed at what you begin to recognize when You Get Outside Everyday. Seriously, you’ll look at a book and be like, ‘wow, I know I’ve seen that’ and next time out you’ll be saying to yourself, ‘hey there it is acorns, pine needles, blackberry or burdock.’

Jerusalem artichokes

May 2, 2009

Jerusalem artichokes are a great plant.   Each plant can grow 7 or 8 feet tall.  They have yellow flowers like a sunflower, but rather than having only one flower like most sunfowers, 450px-sunroot_top1a single Jerusalem Artichoke plant can have 10 flower buds on it.  It’s not the flowers that we are interested in though, although they are nice to look at.  It is the root, or tuber of the plant that we want.

I live in USDA zone 5-6.  Of course even on my own small slice of land I have microclimates.   Jerusalem artichoke grows great around here.

So this is one of my favorite times of the year, because all the plants are waking up from their winter slumber. The apple and peach trees are blooming.  We’ve had a run of unseasonably warm weather so everything is blooming very early.  It’s actually kind of dangerous because our true frost free day is between the middle and end of May, so if we get a frost after the fruit trees bloom then a lot of next fall’s fruit could be lost.

p10100011So I saw some Jerusalem artichokes coming up on a patch of land out front.  You  can see what they look like.  Kind of pointy, lance like leaves covered in hair.  If I remember right, the stems are also kind of hairy.  Over the course of the summer these little green plants will grow 7 or 8 feet tall.

Jerusalem artichokes don’t make a bunch of seeds like sunflowers.  Jerusalem artichokes spread underground through rhizomes.    The rhizome is what we eat.    Jerusalem artichokes can become quite invasive if they like their environment and are left to spread.

I had maybe a ten square foot area out front that p1010005had these little puppies coming up from last season.  Yup, they can stay in the ground right through cold New England winters.  Dig em up when you want to harvest them, as long as the ground ain’t frozen.  So I wanted to dig some up to replant in different areas and also have with dinner.  Go ahead and click Gon the picture to expand it.

You can see that from a small plot, that I don’t do anything to, you can get a fair harvest.   Each of the roots looks kind of like knobby gingerJerusalem artichokes like poor, sandy, dry soil and full sun.

p1010009Here I cut one in half so you could see the nice white inside.  See they look like knobby ginger.  You can use Jerusalem artichokes just like you would use potatoes.  The thing is Jerusalem artichokes don’t contain starch like potatoes.  They have inulin (whatever that is).  But it’s good for diabetics because the inulin isn’t converted into sugar like starch is.

I peel them first, then I slice them and use them like water chestnuts or steam them with salt and butter.  They taste pretty good, kind of like a potato, but sweeter.

I wanted to dig them up to replant some of them in a couple other spots on my property.  I’ve heard that the Indians, errr Native Americans, used to plant them all over the place so as they traveled from hunting ground to hunting ground there would be Jerusalem artichokes already there growing for them and supplying a ready food source.  So I decided to plant them around some of the places that I walk.  So I’ve doing some guerrilla planting.  I’ve been planting them along the edges of fields, powerlines and anyplace else that looks dry, sandy and sunny.   This summer and summers going forwards they will continue to spread.  I’ll remember where they are and I can dig them up whenever I please.  Kind of like the original prepper Johnny AppleseedDo you got that!?!?! If you are able to start planting food crops in your neighborhood in the woods, roadsides, parks, ponds and lakes. Just like diversification is good with your financial portfolio, you should also diversify your garden.  Spread it out.  You do have to be careful though not to plant any food where the real owner may spray chemmies on your food.  You can find Jerusalem artichoke tubers for sale on the Internet. Buy a few now and you will have them forever.

Get outside everyday!!

And while I was ambling and rambling I saw some of blueberry bushes blooming.  If we don’t get some cold weather it’s going to be an early season for everything.

p1010010Years ago I used to pick wild mountain blueberries and make homemade wine.  It was actually pretty good.  Just goes to show put enough sugar in anything and it will be palatable.  You do have a lot of sugar squirrelled away don’t ya? I still have a bunch of waterseals laying around.

S&W model 317

April 14, 2009

This will be my review of the S&W model 317.  I like the 317 it’s a basic eight shot revolver.  It’s made out of some new alloy so it weighs less than a pound.  Some of you may know it as a J frame model meaning that it is a small revolver.  It is very concealable – small and light.  I’ve seen some people call it a “kit gun.”

p1010051What I like about it is that it is small, holds eight shots and is .22 caliber.  I have nothing against semi-autos, but semis are kind of fussy.  You need your magazine otherwise your semi is can only be used as a club or a stone.  Semis are also a bit choosy about what kind of ammo they like.   On the downside, and it’s a biggie, it’s just a little .22 so you won’t be doing any big game hunting with the 317, but that’s not why you carry it with you.  And forget about finding any speedloaders for it.  Another downside is that it is tough to find holsters for a 3″ barrel J frame. This is a Bianchi.  I like IWB for everyday concealed carry, but this Bianchi is comfortable for being out and about.

p1010056If big brother ever comes a knocking they’ll be trying to outlaw the big, bad, scary semis and most likely lever actions, pump and revolvers will be left still legal.  If you own another J frame revolver you can use the little 317 for target practice and still become more proficient with your center fire.

Being a .22 I can carry a lot more ammo.   Ammo is still cheap for it too.  You can get 50 rounds for $2.50 and get 500 round bricks for 25 or 30 bucks.  An old pill bottle filled holds a pretty fair amount and assortment of ammo.

p1010057If you go backpacking this little pistol packs away unnoticed and you can carry a ton of ammo that’ll  meet most of your needs.  This is what the empty bottle holds.

p1010058You can see there are some mini-mags, short subsonics, short hypersonics, lr subsonics, hollowpoints and even some shotshells.

The 317 shoots fine.  It has an adjustable rear sight and a fiber optic type of front sight.   It’s not the most accurate, but within 25 yards it’s plenty accurate for my eyes.  I can’t imagine trying to hit anything beyond 25 yards with the 317.  I can shoot hundreds of rounds through it before my hand even starts to think about being tired.  It’s great for shooting at jugs and such.    If need be you could harvest plenty of game with it.

If I could only take one firearm with me and I had to get out of dodge you know this may be it.  Hide it anywhere.  It weighs nothing.  Extra 22 ammo can be bought ANYWHERE.  You can carry thousands of rounds.  The round is fine for squirrels and birds and even some larger game.

There’s a great review of the S&W model 317 by Jeff Quinn here.

Get outside everyday!! This is the flower of skunk cabbage.  If you live in the northern US near water I bet there is some growing near you.

p1010048I like the way the flower looks.  To me it looks like a bird eating something.  A pretty plant, especially in the spring when there aren’t even any leaves open on the trees yet.

Skunk cabbage is a weird plant.  The young leaves are edible, but first you need to thoroughly dry them as in dehydrate very well in the sun or a dehydrator.    If you fail to dry or dehydrate thoroughly, as Wild Man Bill says, ‘it will feel like 1,000,000 tiny pins prickling your tongue.  OUCH!!  Boiling doesn’t destroy the stinging substance, only thorough drying of the young leaves.

p1010047The upside is that because skunk cabbage contains so many active substances in it that it has many medicinal properties.  The ground root was used for toothaches and the ground leaves for itching and rheumatism.  A root tincture was used as an expectorant too.  At high doses though it is poisonous so you gotta get your own books and do your own research.

Non-perishables

March 29, 2009

I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to run out of anything.  What is survival, but being prepared for the unexpected.  The feeling of being able to get a new razor, soap or bottle of hydrogen peroxide out of storage in priceless.  I love being able to go into the pantry or closet and grabbing what I need.

I’ve always been a bit of a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, but over the past 18 months or so as I’ve seen what the future is that is facing us, I’ve geared it up a bit.

You will be amazed at what you can gather by dedicating $5 or $10 a week towards preps.  You’ll really start paying attention to prices and if you buy things on sale you can have six months of toilet paper and a years worth of razors in no time.

A week or so ago I did an entry on food to store.  So I figured that I’d put together a list of some non-perishable items that you may want to have stored up.

As you start making purchases I’d start with things that are most important then move to the less important and finally when you have a good amount of stuff stored start to think about buying things to barter.  I consider anything that is imported as being good to barter with.  I fear the day may come when it may become near impossible to get imported goods.  That’s one thing that I try to prepare for.

I think a good way to figure out what you need is to look around each of the rooms in your house and figure out what you go through in six months or a year.  Make lists.  Everything I list below is non-perishable so you really can’t have too much of the stuff.  With the way paper assets have been performing over the past ten years and the rate of price inflation I think you’d get a better return on your money buying non-perishables than putting it into the stock market.  Besides I know a roll of TP bought today will still be a whole roll one year from now.

So without further aye-dee-eye-eee-you (adieu)-

  • Toilet paper – TP gets its own bullet point.  You do not ever want to run out of this stuff.  You know how much it sucks using leaves or a newspaper when you’re in the brush.  Imagine if hot water ever becomes a luxury.
  • Plastic bags – you cannot have too many of these.  I’d get heavy contractor grade bags and food storage bags, ziploc bags, sandwich, quart and gallon size and kitchen trash barrel size.
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups – if your water is limited then using disposable stuff to eat with can save you gallons of water.
  • Food wraps like foil and plastic wrap.  When you buy foil get the biggest roll you can because you pay less per square foot that way.  If you want to get the smaller 75 sq. foot rolls in case of barter than once you’re all set in other areas go right ahead so you can give a few of the smaller rolls to friends and neighbors.
  • Wine and booze.   The big 5 liter boxes of wine are good to store.  Because they’re boxes they stack n’ store easily.  Store both red and white.  Great to cook with too.  I also have stored some Jamesons, rum, tequila and of course vodka.  Booze doesn’t go bad so I also have some 1/2 pints of various booze to trade with.
  • Batteries – lots and lots of batteries.  Don’t forget to store the 9 volt batteries too.  The 9 volts go into smoke and CO detectors and if the lights ever go out we’ll all be using candles, lanterns, wood stoves and fireplaces.  You definitely want to be able to keep your smoke and CO detectors going.  The lithium batteries store a long time, up to ten year I think.  Other than that you need to be careful not to buy so many that they’ll go bad before you get the chance to use them.  I really like the new rechargeable batteries.  Get lots of these.  Also a good idea to get some solar powered battery chargers.
  • extra bulbs
  • canning jars, rings and lids

Then you got stuff in the bathroom –

  • I store lots of disposable razors.  You know I’ve tried the generic brands, but they don’t seem to work as well as the Gillette brand.  I’m not big on brand names either.  The generics seem to stick to my face and the Gillettes slide smoothly.
  • shaving cream
  • toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash – if dental care becomes hard to find or you lose you dental insurance oral hygiene will be key.  Hell, seeing dentist sucks so take good care of your mouth.
  • First aid supplies – peroxide, alcohol, qtips, band aids, ointments and salves, chapstick, lots of gauze pads, tape, hot and cold packs
  • feminine hygiene products listen guys your ladies may not be on board with you prepping so you may have to man up and buy extra stuff for them.  Just look what is under the bathroom sink and go buy a pack of 72 or 100 and store them somewhere.
  • Nail clippers – a nail clipped now can save a ton of agony and infection later.  Store a few extras.
  • baby oil, baby powder and epsom salts
  • petroleum jelly

Cleaning

  • sponges
  • steel wool & sos pads
  • dish soap
  • window cleaner
  • simple green, pine sol or whatever you use

Clothing -get extras for everyone in your household

  • Get a few extra pairs of jeans, get the wearguard or carhatts and store them somewhere.
  • Ditto for an extra pair of sneakers and boots.
  • I like big rubber boots that come up to my knees.  They’re great for walking right across shallow rivers  or through mud and crap.
  • can’t forget socks, underwear and tshirts

Miscellaneous stuff to store, trade or barter

  • shoelaces
  • sewing needles, thread, buttons, velcro, snaps
  • safety pins

Fire starter stuff –

  • strike anywhere matches, lighters, butane fuel, zippo fuel, extra flints
  • fire starters
  • fire steels

Lighting-

  • lanterns and mantles
  • oil lamps, wicks &  oil
  • candles, candles, candles

Hardware

  • have a toilet repair kit and an extra wax ring or two – this just makes sense for the everyday living too
  • motor oil, brake fluid, tranny fluid, coolant
  • extra bulbs for the car too
  • duct tape, electric tape, teflon tape
  • nails and drywall screws
  • epoxies and glues
  • wire, ropes and strings

Some people like to store tobacco.  I don’t smoke any longer and the leaf goes bad over time so I don’t store it.  Might be worth storing rolling papers though.

This is a cattail that is dried out and exploded.  You can see what fine fire starter it is.  You can also make a pillow out of it or use ir for insulation.  p1010003All parts of the cattail are edible so it is one of our best wild edibles.  The young roots, the young stalks, the young flowers (before they mature like the one pictured above) and even the pollen are all edible.  Because cattails are so widespread, easy to identify and a great source of food even in the winter you should familiarize youself with them.