Friday, November 28, 2014

Survival Foraging: Burdock

 Burdock (Arctium minus)

Burdock is another transplant to North America from Europe and Asia. It likes to grow in moist soil and usually grows on the edge of roadsides and pastures.

 Identifying The Plant

Burdock is a biannual plant that blooms in the mid to late summer. It has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow up to twelve inches long. A plant in it's second year of growth may be up to eight feet tall and it will branch out at that point as well. The whole plant is covered with tiny hairs that make it feel scruffy. The plant also produces a very sticky burr with reverse hooked spines. The burrs themselves contain multiple little black seeds that will grow more burdock.  The taproot is carrot-like and may weigh as much as three pounds and extend two feet below a mature two year old plant.

Look Alikes

Burdock can easily be confused with a plant named the cocklebur. It looks very similar to burdock but the main distinguishing feature is the cocklebur will only have two flat little seeds in the burr that are pointed.

Eating Burdock

For a forager burdock is a great find. It has lots of vitamins and iron. Pick the youngest plants to get the best flavor. This whole plant is edible. The leaves can be boiled or prepared like spinach. The roots can be peeled and sliced for soups and stir-fry's. The stems should also be peeled to remove the tiny hairs and they can be steamed for a side dish.

Medicinally

Asians have been using burdock as a "blood purifier" for thousands of years. The root, leaves and seeds all have medicinal uses today. A decoction* made from the root is useful for skin disorders, especially boils, sores and dry scaly eczema. A tincture* can be used in combination with other digestive herbs like yellow dock for system detox and digestive stimulation. It can also be used for urinary stones. A poultice* of the roots can be used on skin sores and a wash from the roots can be used for acne and fungal skin infections such as athletes foot and ring worm.

The leaves should be harvested before the plant starts flowering or while the flowers are very young. They can be infused* and used for indigestion. The suggested dose is one half cup before meals. It works as a mild digestive stimulant to aid digestion.

The seeds should be harvested late in the summer. They can be made into a decoction* and used for treating feverish colds accompanied by a sore throat and cough.

*Decoction - Aggressive extraction of a plant's medicinal ingredients by boiling the plant in water for up to an hour; used for roots, barks, twigs and hard berries. Should be made fresh for each dose.
*Tincture - Process of steeping the dried or fresh herbs in a 25% mixture of alcohol and water. Can be stored for up to two years.
*Poultice - The whole plant is steeped and then applied in a compress to the affected area of skin. Should be prepared fresh with each application.
*Infusion - Preparation similar to making traditional tea where the leaves or flowers are put to steep in boiled water. Should be made fresh for each dose.

Attention Use At Your Own Risk

I am not medically trained in anyway. I am simply a student. I read and experiment with ancient herbal techniques. I am simply passing on the knowledge I have gained from studding many texts on the subject and I am in no way responsible for anything you do with this information. For a listing on the books that I have compiled knowledge from visit: http://www.authorsarafhathaway.com/#!saras-survival-stuff/c1mzf

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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Havoc's Cry


I usually don't read paranormal books with vampires, werewolves and the like but I took a chance with this novel because my book, Day After Disaster, has a strong female lead just like this one. I wanted to see how Victoria crafted the character and I was not disappointed at all. The lead character is strong and paranormally powerful but also shows vulnerability and weakness. Very well done.

The story was a little slow at the start but plot needed to be laid out so you could understand the nuances that come into play later on in the story. Once it got rolling it was action after action. Maybe a little too fast with characters constantly going to the hospital and then magically being able to walk out the next day (even the non-paranormal people) but it worked and was essential to keep the story moving.

The supporting characters were very interesting and well described. You understood what made each of them tick and how the main character needed to understand that to effectively run the team. Villains also received the same character care. Victoria painted beautiful interactions here. You immediately knew who she should be very afraid of and who would not be such a big threat.

My only criticism, and this is just my opinion, is the inner character chatter was redundant and confusing to follow but some of the inner chatter was amusing and made the story more entertaining, almost comical.

Hats off to Victoria. I can't believe I read a paranormal book with vampires and werewolves and loved it. You made the magic reality in a detective meets sorceress kind of way.

Buy Havoc's Cry on Amazon.com

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Survival Nutrition: Acorn Tea, Warms the Body and Soul


A very knowledgeable gentleman, Doug Huffman from Sierra School of Survival, taught me how to make this while out on the trail one day. While it is in no way similar to drinking coffee, it is very warming on cold days and provides that much needed comfort of home. Acorns are high in fat and protein and so are a welcome addition to a survival diet. Additionally, after drinking the tea you feel like you could hike for hours due to its metabolism increasing properties. 

When you are selecting acorns to harvest, you want to get them as green as possible. Only the freshest ones will do. Acorns can go bad from soaking in their own oils in the sun very quickly. Also, you must collect them daily if you plan to win the race against all the other animals that value their nutritional properties as well. You can store your acorns in a five gallon bucket in a cool area, away from any other animals.

Acorns are very high in tannins so they must be properly prepared or you will get sick and it tastes very bitter. Once you have your acorns collected you need a good place to smash them. This can be done with a rock or a hammer. Warning: Don't smash them too hard or you will send everything flying. You want to harvest the fresh greenish meat that is awaiting you inside. Once you have cleaned all your acorns, you want to put the meat in a sock. The finer the sock the better so a panty-hoe works well. You then soak your acorns to leach out the tannins. You can put them in a river for three days but be careful of animals that will want to eat them, including water dwelling animals. You can soak them in a tub of water that you empty and refill three times a day for three days. My friend's personal favorite was to put them in the back of a toilet that is in a shop (not a guest bathroom because the water will get brown). The water in the back of the toilet is clean and every time someone flushes the acorns get fresh water but the water going into the toilet bowl will be brown with the leached tannins.

Once your acorns have been leached it is time to get the acorns ready for tea making. Add some acorns to a skillet and brown them to a caramel color. You must keep stirring constantly. You do not want to burn any of them or they will taste yucky in your tea. Once it's all browned up, grind it up in a coffee grinder. Then return it to the skillet and brown it again. Then put it back in the grinder and grind again. Once more you will put it in the skillet brown it and then return to grinder. You should brown it and grind it a total of three times.

To make the tea itself, use one tablespoon of your acorn mix and put it into hot boiling water. The more water you add the less potent it will be but you can reuse your acorn mix multiple times if you use a tea bag or just keep adding more water to the cup. Every time you add more water let it steep for ten minutes. If you want to really jazz it up add a chunk of caramel candy to the tea. It will make it sweet and super yummy.

Nutritional Note: The gentleman who taught me how to prepare acorn tea told me that acorns contained theophylline. Theophylline's molecular structure is similar to caffine. I definitely feel more energetic after I drink acorn tea but when I tried to find information on the amount of theophylline in acorns I found nothing about it. I did find a study that confirms it's existence in cocoa beans and tea. It's a mystery but here is the nutritional information on acorns that I did find out at nutritiondata.self.com



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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Day After Disaster Discussion Topic #3

This discussion topic is important because a lot of the things we prep are not things we use day to day. Yes, it would be a very different way of life, surviving in a post-apocalyptic society but you would need to do more than survive. You would need to thrive. How many of us are saving our old glasses and have them in our go-bags? How many of us are considering vital medications that you or a family member are using. What about infants? They have a big list of things to make their care easier. Thinking about these things as well as the essential food, water, tools, warmth, etc. that you will need is vital to not only surviving but thriving.

Sit down and discuss the issue with your loved ones. What are things that could bring them that little bit of much needed sanity in an insane world?

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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Survival Medicine: Tampons, Effective for Bullet Wounds?

During my time learning about survival techniques I have heard it said many times that a tampon is an effective stopper for a bullet wound. It makes sense to me. Tampons are individually wrapped so they remain sanitary. They are meant for collecting blood. They would expand to fill the wound and stop bleeding but I wanted to find out if this really was an effective method or not. Here's what I found.

I found an article by one unanimous prepper who is an Emergency Medical Technician and he said this is a fallacy and there are many reasons why using a tampon is a bad idea. He points out that putting in the tampon manipulates the wound and could make the wound worse. Another valid point that he makes is that the tampons soak up too much blood and could have dangerous effects. He goes on to mention that since tampons are made of cotton they stick to material and tissue, making the wound messy and their expansion also expands the wound. Another point he brings up is if you left the tampon in too long the blood and tissue would dry to the tampons. When you remove it you would essentially be making a new wound inside the old one. His final point is that simply sticking a tampon in the hole does nothing to address internal bleeding. 

I never considered all of these points but they all make sense too. So what to do? Freedomprepper.com introduces a new product on their blog that has been introduced to our soldiers to use on the battlefield. It's called an X-stat and it's made by RevMedx (featured in right hand picture). Popular Science touts it as being able to stop bleeding in just 15 minutes. It is a tube of dime sized medical grade sponges that are covered with a hemostatic agent to stop bleeding. RevMedx claims that the number one cause of death on the battlefield is uncontrolled bleeding and many of these injuries occur to areas where pressure can not be applied. This product addresses this issue but it is not yet available to the general public. 

In the mean time if the SHTF do we turn to our stockpiles of tampons to help with the inevitable bullet wounds or not? I am no medical specialist but I would say yes. When there is no immediate medical help available you have to do what you have to do. If you have the choice between watching someone bleed out before your eyes or doing what you can to stop the bleeding, of course, you have to stop the bleeding. At that point complications from the bandage will probably be the least of your worries anyway.

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day After Disaster Discussion Topics #2

Do you have a plan? What do you do if your power goes out? Water? Gas? What if you lost them all at the same time? A household can't survive on it's own, unless you are very prepared. Do you have a group of neighbors that could get together to help one another? Community support? Please share your ideas so others can learn how they can become more prepared. 

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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Day With the Bows

For my son's fourteenth birthday he asked for a compound bow. I am one proud momma! Shooting bows has been a tradition in my family. My grandfather gave me a bow that was hand made for him by Fred Bear and it is my holy grail! I started shooting bows when I was about fourteen as well. I got a compound Bear bow which was top of the line at the time. I got a trigger, a peep site, silencers, balance and all the goodies. I have shot my bow for years and branched off into long bows and re-curve. I love the traditional feel of the string and the feeling of pulling that string. 

The bow that I got for my son is truly a work of art. He got a Diamond Infinite Edge. This bow's poundage ranges from 5-75 lbs. Compare that to my old bow that goes from 45-75 lbs. It is amazing that they can even make a bow with that much variability in the poundage. The bow will literally grow with him and he will never need to replace it. I had to work and work at that age to pull 45 lbs because I wanted a bow I could eventually hunt with. There is no more need for a balance and the sites and arrow knock they have now-a-days are really cool. On the other hand, I am not a fan of the new triggers. To work the modern triggers you need to have an extra loop on your bow string. I see this as one more thing that could go wrong. My old school trigger simply hooks to the bow string.

Taking the bows out into the woods and away from computers, tvs and video games is like heaven for this momma. As we stand and listen to the twang of the string and delight in our successes and failures, I find myself reflecting on survival in a world where this skill would be essential. Our modern bows, especially his require so many parts that just can't be replicated easily from natural items. I think it is time to figure out how to make our own bows and sling some arrows down the range with those. That way we can be versatile in a modern world or a survival world. 

Get out there and do it. What a great way to spend the day with your kids!

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster