Posts Tagged ‘Skills’

Suburban survival

November 4, 2008

What is survival?  To me it’s being prepared for anything, being open minded and keeping your six senses working enough to acknowledge the world around you and adapt to ever changing circumstances.  Having a grain mill is great, but we also have to live in the everyday, that is go to work, go shopping, pay bills and tend to the homestead.

This is a wild turkey feather.

Wild turkey feather

Wild turkey feather

Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird because he thought that the eagle was too warlike.

Today I went to the big orange box store and bought some insulation.  I framed out a walk-in closet a few years ago.  One side of the closet is basically an exterior wall and the other side of the closet is an interior wall where we hang out a lot.  I noticed this closet stayed pretty cold so I figured that I should insulate it.  I also notice that the interior wall where we hang out is pretty cold to the touch.  That means it chills the air in the interior room.

The nice thing about having a cold, dark closet is that I can use it as a root cellar.  I’ve cured homemade cured pork tenderloin.  Check out this recipe.  It’s the easiest sausage in the world and involves no cooking.  http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/special/1999/salt/loin.html.  I also store my root veggies in the cold closet.  When I make KimChi I store the fermenting bottles in the closet.

At the big box store I bought three rolls of Owens Corning Kraft R13 insulation.   I got the rolls that were 15″ wide which made it really easy to fit between the studs.   Kraft means it’s paper on one side.  R13 is the insulation’s insulative property.  The higher the R number the better the insulation.  Each roll cost about $10.  I had about 10 spaces between studs to slide the insulation into.  I kind of screwed up because I should have put the insulation in before I put up a bunch of pegboard for my tools, but I did not.  Luckily I was able to slide the insulation behind the pegboard and pull it up.

Owens R13 Kraft 15" roll

Owens R13 Kraft 15

It only took me about an hour and we will be more comfortable hanging out and also save energy.  Twenty dollars is a small price to pay.

Another product I like is the blow in foam insulation that comes in a can.  This stuff is great for electrical outlets and cracks near windows and doors.   You shake the can, spray it in to fill about 1//2 the cavity and as it cures it expands.   I highly recommend this stuff, but be careful not to over apply or the pressure it exerts on your windows/doors as it expands will make it tough to open or close the doors/windows.

Great Stuff

Great Stuff

With the cost to heat and cool being so great, you need to take advantage of every angle that you can.

Don’t be brave.  Use the correct equipment.  You wouldn’t remove a crew with a hammer or use a screwdriver as a chisel.  When working with insulation wear a mask, safety glasses, long pants and long sleeves.  When you shoot or use power equipment wear safety glasses and hearing protection.

So fills those cracks.  Fill those gaps.  Fill that empty space.

Some pics of a recent foray along the power lines.

Power line sunset

Power line sunset

Power line sunset 2

Power line sunset 2

There is beauty every where if you just open your eyes to receive.

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Skills

October 31, 2008

Today’s post is about skills.  I have two posts in the works.  One will be on knives and the other on getting out.

Just got back from the range.  I tried out some subsonic Remington .22 rounds.  Quiet, but they still make too much noise to shoot stuff in my suburban neighborhood.  I was hoping for a pfft rather than a crack.    Also shot the 7.62 * 39 Saiga.  That is fun.  What an easy gun to shoot.  Also, fired off a few .357 rounds from my S&W model 60.  Getting better.  Practice makes you better.  My goal for a rifle is to be able to shoot a paper plate from 100 yards with iron sights.  For my handguns it’s to shoot a small plate from five yards.  Of course I try to shoot from all different ranges, positions and angles.  I don’t want to try using a scope until I have the iron sights nailed down.

Onto today’s post on skills-

Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren’t you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

What skills do you have? This is my list of skills that I think are important to have. Of course it’s not all inclusive. There are many things that I can’t do that I wish I could.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is like painting, you need to get all your prep work done first. Before you touch the flame to the kindling you need to have everything ready. Start with tinder, then kindling then larger logs. You want to have all your gathering done before you start the fire.  You fire kit should contain matches, a steel and lighters.

Sharpen a knife. I like diamond stones. I’m going to have a separate post just for knives once I get the camera back from the wife. There’s a Halloween party where she works so she wanted to take pictures of all of her clients in the costumes.

Understand a variety of firearms. How to make safe, load, unload, field strip and clean. Learn how to use a pistol, a revolver, a lever action rifle, a center fire rifle and a shotgun. If you understand the basics for each one of these you will be in pretty good shape. You won’t be an expert, but if you come upon one you will at least (hopefully) be able to make it safe.

Cook a meal just using what you have in your pantry. I love to cook. You need to be able to mix a can or two of this or that and a bag of noodles and make a good dinner. Understand about cross contamination and how to avoid it. Know how to store food safely. Know what various herbs and spices taste like and how to use them.

Set up a camp and cook over a campfire.  Know to look overhead for widowmakers.  Don’t set up too close to some river or stream that may rise up.

Use a Coleman stove and lantern. Know how to fill them, pump them, light them and change a mantle.

Gardening skills. Know how to compost, understand NPK and micronutrients. I used to work with a very well paid lawyer (like $450 an hour, yup, that’s right). She went to all private schools that were very expensive for her education. She was interested in gardening. One day I was explaining to her about bees. She had no idea that bees pollinate and that without bees we wouldn’t have any fruit. Imagine that, not knowing that bees pollinate? Learn what USDA zone you are in. If you don’t garden buy a book and some seeds and start.

Be able to fix simple things around your home like a toilet that runs, fix a clogged toilet or clogged sink, a bad light switch or prime and finish the walls of your home. Know how to use simple hand tools.  Be able to replace a cord from an appliance or a switch from a lamp.

Understand the basics of how your car works. I don’t mean just turning the key and having it start. You should understand the basics about fuel, air and spark. Know where the battery is and how to jump start a car safely. If you have a standard transmission you should know how to pop the clutch to start it. You should know how to change a tire safely, how to check the fluid levels – brake, transmission, coolant, oil, washer, how to put air in your tires.

First aid skills. Understand how to spot an infection, redness, hot to the touch, maybe drippy fluids and how to treat an infection. Know how to perform CPR, how to take someone’s temperature, how to stop bleeding (direct pressure and raise the wound), how to prevent shock in someone. Know the difference between a virus and bacteria. Know what kind of bandages, dressings and ointments to use. Know the difference between different degrees of burns and how to treat them. How to get something out of someone’s eye, remove a tick or sew someone up. Know the basics of anatomy and physiology. Where your arteries and veins are and the basic bones of the human body.

That is all for now.  Knives and getting out coming up.