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Saturday, August 28, 2010


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Other names for tinder nests are tinder bundles or bird’s nests. Your tinder nest will be used to coax a spark or ember into flame. It maximizes your chances of success in building a fire. Once the nest is burning it is used to start a larger fire.

To construct a tinder nest, select dry and flammable materials. A variety of items can be used from clothes dryer lint, fuzz from socks and sweaters, to foraged materials. Many outdoor enthusiasts carry waterproof containers filled with cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly for this purpose. Found tinder can include dry grass, cattail fluff, cottonwood down, leaves, thin layers of tree bark, moss, wood shavings, brown leaf litter, dropped pine needles and more. A found bird’s nest will work well also.

Dry tinder will break easily when bent or crushed. If the exterior feels dry, but it gives rather than snaps when bent, the material isn’t truly dry. If the ground is damp, search out materials that are found resting on top of bushes or limbs. These items will be drier than ground litter because they have been exposed to the sun and air.

Place damp tinder inside your jacket, but not next to your skin. By the time you are ready to start a fire later in the day, the tinder will have been dried somewhat by your body heat.

Shredding the tinder creates additional surface area that will more easily catch flame. Materials that are fuzzy are ideal for feeding a spark. Gather the tinder on a bandanna or other cloth. Grab a length of tinder in both hands and move your fists in a bicycle pedaling motion. Work over the entire length of the tinder. The tinder will soften and become pliable. Bits and fine dust will fall down from your hands and be caught on the bandana.

Take some of the coarse pieces of prepared tinder and create a loose over hand knot with a diameter of about four inches.

Stuff the remaining tinder into the knot’s loop. Keep stuffing the nest until it is dense. It must be able to prevent the coal from falling through the fibers and out of the nest and it must provide enough fodder to keep the spark from fizzling out before a flame starts.

Collect the dust that has fallen into your bandanna and place it in the center of the nest. It will help if you first make a small hollow or depression in the center of the nest to contain the dust. As you pick up the dust you will notice that the finest particles fall back down onto the bandanna. This will mean that you'll be packing finer and finer dust into the nest’s depression until the finest dust will be on the top, just where you'll place the spark or ember.

Once your nest is assembled, keep it in a protected area where it won’t be bumped or blown around by the wind. Then assemble the fuel for your fire and prepare to strike a spark.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


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The human body can live for approximately 3 days without water, but this doesn’t mean it will be functioning at full capacity. Dehydration is the condition that exists when your body begins to lose more water than you drink. The body looses water primarily through perspiration, respiration and elimination of waste. Long before you feel thirsty, you can actually begin to dehydrate. Even slight dehydration will impair your health.

Diuretics such as alcohol, beer, coffee, tea and caffeine increase the amount of water lost in these natural processes. Drinking salt water increases the amount of salt in your body and forces fluids from your organs in order to dilute it. This diminishes your body’s fluids at a greater rate than if you hadn’t drank anything.

Without the proper amount of water, metabolic processes slow. The water content of your blood decreases and it thickens to the consistency of sauce. This increases the strain on your circulatory system. Blood pressure can fall to dangerously low levels. Blood clots may form. Normal kidney function can be impaired.

Fatigue and thirst occur if the water content of your body drops by only 2%. Other symptoms include things like lethargy, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, mental fuzziness and depression. Any difficulty functioning emotionally or physically is made more severe by mild dehydration.

As dehydration becomes severe, your mouth will feel quite dry. This is known as "cotton mouth," and you may notice a crease forming on your tongue. The frequency and volume of urination will decrease. Your urine will take on a deep yellow or orange color and have a strong odor. As dehydration progresses, your eyes will become dry and sunken; your heart rate will increase.

In severe cases urination will stop completely. Lethargy will increase, along with irritability, and you will become nauseated. Vomiting will dehydrate you even more. Once your condition becomes severe with water levels dropping by more than 10%, a failure to rehydrate is fatal.

The time to prevent dehydration is before you are threatened with a lack of proper drinking water. Take the time to learn how to filter AND disinfect found water sources with basic tools. Become skilled in locating natural water sources. It’s not a good idea be left trying to remember untested skills and information while you are suffering from mental confusion brought on by dehydration. Not only is it frustrating, bickering among dehydrated group members with poor thinking skills can be deadly. When you find yourself in survival situation, you’ll be very thankful you took the time to see to this basic need.

Kay is . . .

a perpetual student of things I find interesting and (I hope) helpful to others. Feel free to use and apply all information with a healthy dose of common sense. :-)

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