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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


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A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock. When pressure from gases and melted rock becomes strong enough, the mountain erupts in an explosion that spews gases and rocks through the opening. Volcanic blasts can devastate miles of landscape within hours or minutes. Here are some of the things to watch for during a volcanic eruption.

An ASH CLOUD can turn day to night and prevent you from being able to recognize landmarks, coating everything it touches with a dark powder. It is made up of bits of glass and exploded rocks made under extreme temperatures. This corrosive substance does not dissolve and can damage mucus membranes, irritating skin and eyes. Infants and those with breathing problems are most at risk of injury from this. Cover your eyes, nose and mouth.

FALLING ROCKS (pyroclastics) can land miles away from the volcano. Place a ridge line between yourself and the volcano or hold something (backpack, box, trash can lid, your arms etc.) over your head for protection.

FIRES occur wherever burning debris lands onto tinder, spreading quickly.

FLOODING & MUDSLIDES kill more people than the initial blast. Even miles away, these are a danger as normal waterways are clogged or changed by the lava flow, ash and debris.

HEAT is also released with temperatures high enough to burn human flesh. Move away from the blast area to avoid this.

LAVA FLOWS are super-heated molten liquid. Nothing can stop them. Don’t attempt to cross them even if they appear cooled. This could be a thin crust that will give away under your weight. Never try to cross hot spots, mud holes or geysers as the ground surrounding them can be too thin to keep you out of the molten lava below.

POISON GAS and volcanic smog (vog) is the result of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants reacting with oxygen, moisture and sunlight. It can cause lung damage, breathing difficulties, headaches and death. Use a respirator, mask or moist cloth and get away from the area as quickly as possible. DON’T KNEEL OR CRAWL!!! The most dangerous gases often accumulate near the ground.

STRONG WINDS follow an eruption and can be felt miles away from the blast, knocking over trees and structures.

If you live in the vicinity of a volcano, NOW is the time to develop a plan to deal with events in case of an eruption.

Many Indonesians died in the aftermath
of Mount Merapi's eruptions
during October & November 2010.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


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Readers may be interested in seeing an example of how rustic skills can serve you. NAKED INTO THE WILDERNESS gives a good overview of how this is possible. It’s one thing to know how to start a fire or build a shelter, it’s quite another to know how to have a shelter, fire and food without ready-made tools. There’s another level of skill required to know how to utilize the strengths of each individual within a group, take advantage of found materials and manage the variables that weather and terrain can toss your way.

NAKED INTO THE WILDERNESS is a video that demonstrates how primitive skills can be applied in their context. To emphasize the value of each technique, the participants venture into a remote location without iron tools or containers.

Part one takes you into the Kansas woods as you observe skills in several categories. Watch as the individual participants form into a cohesive group, securing food, shelter and the tools they need to accomplish each task.

While stone tools make for a slower work pace, you'll see that a LOT can be accomplished with very few basic materials. Watching this gave me a real appreciation for some skills that modern culture seems to have left behind including:
● basket making
● pottery
● fire-starting
● cooking over an open fire,
● stone knapping to make knives, axes and arrowheads
● cordage
● shelter construction
● foraging
● trapping
● and more

The second part of the video shows another group camp that utilized modern bedrolls and pre-made primitive gear. This footage has some scenes that show how "down time" is used by members of the group to make improvements to the camp. Additionally, there are scenes that show some lighthearted moments. Day 4 contains some silliness as a couple of the guys decide to try swimming in frigid waters. If you'd prefer to pass on some back nudity, skip that section.

The DVD is divided into topical chapter headings so that you will be able to review applicable sections. If you are practicing individual skills, it helps to see them demonstrated in a real life setting -- although this is not a detailed instructional video. You'll also get a pretty good idea of how to prioritize tasks and divide the labor among individuals. NAKED INTO THE WILDERNESS leaves you with an appreciation for how a small tribe or community with few materials and some knowledge can greatly enhance the life of all its members when they are willing to work together.

This is a valuable addition to your library and will work well as a gift if you are interested in these skills for personal use or for demonstration purposes. The production value is not up to the polished standards of a professionally produced work. This is not a video on how to be rescued when lost. Rather, you’ll be invited to enjoy the home movies of experts in primitive skills and gain from their insights. In spite of surface noise distractions, dead air and the occasional “is that thing on?”, there’s a lot to glean from this footage. NAKED INTO THE WILDERNESS takes you from theory to implementation of skills you’ll need to survive in primitive conditions.

Available at Bulk Herb Store.
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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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