Friday, July 21, 2017

Family Survival First Aid Kit (Part 1)

By: Sebastian Berry

My intent with writing for Family Survival Farm is to educate to the lowest levels, the individual and the family. Up to this point we have covered how to survive bleeding to death and the management and treatment of burns. In the survival family it is not enough to just know how to take care of things. You must have the stuff to be able to handle survival and emergency situations as they arise.

And now for my standard disclaimers...

DISCLAIMER: Instructions and information here is not a substitute for professional medical care and treatment. If you are having an emergency call 911 or your local emergency number for assistance.

I do not claim credit to any of the images used unless specifically indicated. All rights and credits remain with the original owners

In the realm of first-aid you can find as many philosophies and thought processes as there are families with a first-aid kit. Some people have the bare bones with a box of band-aids and whatever is in their medicine cabinet and others have a small hospital. My advice is this, prepare for you and your family and your specific needs.

In this multi-part posting I want to cover a few things.
  • First-aid mindset
  • How to tailor your family survival first-aid kit to your specific situation
  • The first-aid kit (the actual container)
  • The bare minimum stuff
  • The stuff you might not think of
First things first for first-aid is the thinking behind rendering first-aid. If you will remember back to the article about controlling bleeding. There is band-aid bleeding and hospital bleeding. Hospital bleeding should make you nervous the second you see it. Your initial reaction should be something along the lines of- HOLY CRAP, I NEED HELP! You must know your limitations in advance to be able to make those snap judgments that lead to survival or possible death.

There are two questions a person must ask themselves before rendering aid...
  1. Do I have the skills to render proper aid?
  2. Do I have the equipment to render proper aid?
If either question is answered no, then you must seriously reconsider rendering aid.

Everyone's limitations are different. For instance, I would not expect my neighbor that is a boilermaker, to have the same comfort level rendering first-aid as I do being an emergency room nurse. You have to evaluate your skills and comfort level as part of your family survival mindset.

The most important tool you have is already with you
The mindset also extends to what you are preparing for. Do you want to be able to render first-aid for burns to your family and friends at home during your awesome fireworks show? Maybe you want to be that super awesome motorist that sees the accident on the side of the road and stop to help? The scenario changes and the supplies needed might change but the mindset is the same.

The first aid and family survival situations my family might encounter are probably very different than the ones your family might encounter. Your first-aid kits should reflect this. Size should be the very first thing you think of with your first-aid kit.

I have five people, including myself (33 years old), in my family. My wife (33), daughter (7), son (4), and infant son (7 months). I use a large tackle box, pictured below, for my first-aid kit. This particular box is currently on sale here. I plan on showing pictures of my family kit in my next article.
Yes, it really has can holders.

This is fishing tackle, duh.
My first-aid kit is built for home and personal use and is separate from any "bug-out" bags or supplies I have. I hope to do a post in the future about that type of thing. I would call our family kit a general purpose kit. Just enough to cover some ouchies, aches, pains, and general sicknesses. Our kit comes with us on extended road trips, along with our travel first-aid pouches that stay in our vehicles. Again, general purpose stuff.

Being specific for my family means that my kit has the following...
  •  Band-aids of various sizes and materials
    • I prefer plain fabric bandages but my kids love their cartoon characters
  • Other bandage materials like gauze and tape
    • Nothing better than having a nurse make you a bandage and my kids like when I draw on it
  • Neosporin with pain relief
    • This only costs a little more at the store but is well worth it
  • Kank-A canker sore medicine
  • Black tube of chap-stick
    • This is great wound care stuff. Helps protect and heal not only your lips but wounds too.

These are only a few things that my kit has that yours might not, again being specific for my family. Your kit might need to have some insulin syringes or contact solution or whatever else.
When I teach people about building a first-aid kit I like to emphasize that your kit is not meant to be a replacement for you medicine cabinet. You should not be trying to treat everything. Some of the basics to keep in mind...
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Bug bites
  • Splinters and slivers
  • Aches and pains
Just a little earlier I showed you the container that I use for my family first-aid kit. You can use literally anything to make a kit. There are kits commercially available for a few bucks and ranging up to a few hundred. Keep in mind old bags, boxes, and cans are all able to be re-purposed to fit your family survival needs. Below are a few examples...

In my house the first-aid kit lives in my closet. Everyone knows where it is, and if (more like when) the kids get into it, my wife or I know and are able to see what to replenish when needed.

In the next article I am going to have my family survival first-aid kit to use as an example. I will cover what is in mine and why. I will list out some of the things you should have and some of the things you might not have thought of before.

Monday, July 17, 2017

An Earthship Overview

Earthships were first heard of in the 1970’s when Michael Reynolds, an architect, decided to design a home that would do three particular things:

  1. It would be constructed of sustainable materials, recycled materials or materials that came from the local area where the home was being built.
  2. All of its energy sources would be natural, leaving it completely off the grid.
  3. It would be possible for someone with no knowledge of construction to build one.

They are constructed primarily of tires filled with rammed earth and usually built in a U-shape. This method came about since it’s hard to construct ninety-degree angles with tires. Each tire holds an average of an entire wheelbarrow load of dirt, which is put inside the tire, and then rammed into place with a sledgehammer. As such, each tire weighs about three hundred pounds. It’s one of the most secure structures at this point.

Earthship Water
The roof construction is usually based on wooden trusses and heavily insulated so little to no heat will be lost. Water is collected from the roof the local environment, from rain and condensation for example. Normally collected into a cistern, it is used for all water necessities except toilet flushing. That is accomplished by greywater that has been recycled throughout the home.

Earthship Power
Power for these homes comes from both solar and wind sources and then inverted into electricity for use in the home. Batteries are stored in special rooms built just for that purpose and collect the power harvested. This electricity is used for just about anything in the home. However, the Earthship is neither heated nor cooled using electricity.

Earthship Food Production
Part of the home is known as the “Earthship wetlands”. These planters make use of the greywater from sinks, showers and other household uses to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to help feed the family throughout the winter. There is no better way to get organic food you can trust, and have it fresh when others cannot.

Earthship Toilets
All of the sewage from an Earthship is treated and composted for other uses. Whether it is for fertilizer or landscaping, it is treated so that no pollution is created. They are also treated in a way that completely removes the “smell” often associated with the subject.

Earthship Benefits
In addition to growing food in the greenhouse planters that utilize greywater, you can also add other food amenities. For instance, you can install a fish pond and grow your own preference of fish to eat, or you could add a chicken coop for all the eggs and meat you might need.

There’s no self-sufficiency quite like that acquired by living in an Earthship. You will have no monthly bills, you don’t have to work for survival and you are literally making the world a better place by reducing your carbon footprint. Between the natural power options, the extraordinary water recycling abilities and the composting sewage treatment facility, you are creating little to no pollution at all.

Earthships really couldn’t be easier to build. Many people have built them with up to three levels in as little as three months time. Furthermore, there was no hired help nor were there any expensive pieces of specialty equipment used. And there’s no home that’s any cheaper to build. The most basic Earthship, known as the Simple Survival Model, costs about $7,000. But even the most sensational models top out at about $70,000.

Probably the best part about an Earthship is the fact that it causes us to think about the world we live in. Not only are Earthships a model in green living, it can even give back to the environment for cheap, simple, hearty living.

It might be time to think about our own Earthship!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Unknown and Uncommon Food Sources: Edible Weeds and Plants

By Karen Roguski

There is absolutely no reason in which one should starve when there are so many free to pick food sources available. The primary problem is that these food sources are often unknown or uncommon to the average individual.

The trick is in learning to distinguish between the unknown and uncommon foods sources by sight. If one is not careful it would be way too easy to eat something that is harmful or even deadly. Below are some helpful tips to consider in your search for edible weeds and plants.

  • Be certain you know exactly what it is you are picking, cooking, or going to consume. If there is any doubt seek professional advice or simply avoid using until you are certain.
  • Never pick anything from an area that might have had herbicides or pesticides used. These chemicals when consumed will have negative or adverse reactions when consumed.
  • Keep at least a twenty-five-foot radius from roadways. Besides the possibility of pesticides or herbicide being sprayed in this location, you also place yourself at risk from vehicle exhaust soil contamination.
  • Research the poisonous plants in your area. This is to prevent contact while searching out the edible weeds and plants.

Highlighted here are the names and images of the most common of the weeds and plants that are edible. One must be certain to do their homework as to what parts are usable, taste good, and great recipes in which they shine.

Wood Sorrel







Lamb’s Quarters


We encourage you to comment on your stories, recipes, adventures, or previous uses of these or any other often unknown or uncommon food source. We look forward to reading each and every one.