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Category Archives: Camping

Wild Plants to Cure the Flu and Common Cold

Can’t make it to the drug store right now? Whatever the reason, you do have some natural medicinal options in the winter season. Look for these three plants to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of your next case of the cold or flu. All you need is a sharp eye and a patch of wild growth to find these common and potent medicinal’s.

Mullein 
Mullein is a native plant, which favors dry, rocky soil and full sunlight, and is found throughout North America. An easy way to spot patches of this plants in cold weather is to look for the chocolate brown skeletons of the second-year plants. Look for 4- to 6-foot-tall stalks, which often have branching flower heads that resemble the arms of a saguaro cactus.

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The part you want for medicine are the velvety green leaves, which can still be found in winter growing in basal rosettes on one-year-old plants. Treat head colds by crushing the leaves into boiling water and breathing the steam. This medicated vapor acts as a decongestant.

barberryBarberry
The little red berries of barberry contain a compound called berberine. This acts as an immune system booster, helping your body fight off viral attacks like the common cold and the flu. The bitter taste of the berries isn’t very inviting, but eating a handful each day you’re feeling sick can shorten the illness, much like elderberry and Echinacea will. Look for small bushes with small dangling red berries. The two native varieties of the shrubs will have thorns in sets of three growing all over the twigs. The introduced Japanese species will have single thorns growing around the twigs. All three species can be used medicinally. As an additional point of identification, check the seeds in the red berries. Each berry should contain dark, slender seeds—typically two per berry.


Yarrow

This non-native plant grows from coast to coast on sunny open ground, although it’s originally nativeyarrow to Europe. Its most common use is as a poultice for cuts and other wounds. But you can fight colds and flu with it by making a tea from the leaves. Chop up the fresh leaves and add one tablespoon to one cup of scalding hot water. Soak the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes. You can sweeten the drink if you need to, or drink it commando-style. The anti-viral compounds help your immune system through its battle, while the diaphoretic compounds will get a sweat going to help break fevers.

Just make sure you use a field guide or guidance from an expert for positive identification of these plants. The last thing you need to do is poison yourself while you’re already ill.

rosehipsRose Hip Benefits
A Rose hip is the fruit of a rose. The wild dog rose is the type of rose most often cultivated for their hips. This plant grows up to ten feet tall and bears a white, very fragrant flower. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a wide variety of preparations. Rose hips are the best source of vitamin C; they contain 50% more vitamin C than oranges.
A single tablespoon of the pulp gives an adult more than the recommended daily allowance of 60 mg. They can be eaten raw, after being put through a blender, or soaked in water overnight and then cooked in the water for about half an hour. Because of the high vitamin C content they are an excellent immune system booster, and are often used as a supplement to prevent or treat a cold. The pulp from rose hips may be used in sauces or made into jelly.

Have you made medicine from wild plants?

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How to Make a Quick CAN Stove

If you suffer sticker shock after shopping for wood-burning camping stoves, you’re not alone. Why pay $60 to $100 for a titanium backpacking wood stove when you can make one out of a bean can for nothing. Sure, you could build a fire without any containment at all, but the low weight, efficiency, and minimal set-up time of a tin-can stove could make you a believer. And as long as there are sticks to burn, your stove will have fuel. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll have a lightweight bug-out-ready survival stove in no time.

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The Gear List
To create a bean can stove, you’ll certainly need the empty can. You’ll also need a pair of tin snips. If you don’t have a pair in your tool box, borrow a pair. You’ll also need a tape measure, a pencil or marker, a drill with a ½-inch (or similar size) drill bit, and a file to remove sharp edges when you’re done. Gloves are a good idea, too,  since you’ll be working with a lot of sharp metal.

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The Procedure
Remove the can lid completely from a 40-ounce (or similar sized) food can. You could use a smaller can, but the 40-ounce size because one-quart water bottles will nest inside the finished stove. Next, make a mark all the way around the can about 1 ½ inches below the open top. Use your tin snips, spiraling in, to cut this ring off the top of the can, but before you start, determine whether you are using right- or left-hand snips. It will be easier if you cut in the correct direction. You could leave the can full height, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A shortened stove has better balance, and the last thing you need is for your stove to tip over.

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Next, make four equidistant marks around the mouth. Each mark will be the centerline for the four “teeth” on the top of your stove. Mark a line half an inch on either side of each of the four centerlines and draw a line around the can 1 inch down from the mouth. Using the tin snips again cut out the lines,  leaving four 1×1-inch teeth at the top of the can.

Next, drill eight equally-spaced holes around the bottom of the can wall. These will be the air intake vents. File off any sharp or rough edges from your metal work. Finally, before you start cooking food or boiling water over this stove, burn a few twigs for about ten minutes to get rid of the plastic can lining.

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The Effectiveness
Once your stove is complete, set some tinder in the bottom and some broken twigs on the top of that. Place it in a stable, level spot and light the tinder through one of the vent holes. Place your cooking pot over the top of the stove and cook away. You will have to remove the pot every time you need to add fuel, but this is far better than trying to create stove doors for adding fuel. It also forces you to set the dangerously hot pot out of the way when refueling. This stove can burn twigs, paper, cardboard and any other solid fuel that’ll fit inside; and it boils one quart of water in about eight minutes. The finished stove weighs only 2 ½ ounces.

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Tinywood Home on Trailer with Built In Outdoor Hot Tub

Have you ever heard about a tiny house that is also a hot tub? Yes, the project can be made and it already exists, thanks to a small company based in Warwickshire, England. The architects thought about building a home that offer comfort, relaxation and entertainment at the same time, and built this amazing tiny home that comes with an attached hot tub.

hot-tub-tiny-home-on-wheels

The company is specialized in building tiny homes and merging utility with creativity.

The inside is fully equipped as you will find a small kitchen, lounge area, two bedrooms upstairs and a functional heating system.

So after taking a look, you can say that it is the most perfect small vacation house for you and your family. As tiny as it is, there is still plenty of space inside for a family with two kids.

The outside hot tub is just an extra feature that tops the awesomeness of this house.

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Wildlife Encounter With A Fisher

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Suddenly the peace of darkness was shattered by a bloodcurdling screech behind the rock that sent shivers through my body. I spun my 30.06 around to face the creature that might come bounding over the rocks toward me.

1It was pitch black in the Vermont woods while I waited for the dawn of deer opener. From my perch I was above a valley that would funnel deer. A handmade blind stretched between two trees camouflaging me while my back was against some large boulders. There was a fresh snow on the ground where I deposited deer urine to bring in the bucks. The blasting screech on the other side of the rocks was a fisher cat attracted to the doe urine that I had laid down. The nocturnal fisher was screeching a mating call misinterpreting deer urine for another fisher. I whistled a long blast and followed by a silence, the fisher gradually departed the scene, undoubtedly disappointed. When dawn came, the fisher was gone and I saw a nice buck in the valley and downed him with my 30.06.

The fisher (Martes pennant) is a ferocious predator that lives in the deep forest and is rarely seen except at night. Its nocturnal screech sounds like someone crying for help. Trappers take the fisher for its fine fur. It is the largest of the mustelids that include the weasels, mink, otter and skunk.

The fisher cat has a pointed face similar to the weasel and retracted claws make them excellent climbers. The dark brown to black fur shines and some individuals have patches on the chest or abdomen. Their screech- like cry is used to attract mates and sometimes they shriek before killing prey. The fisher commonly eats porcupine, grouse, turkey, poultry, rabbits, domestic cats and other small mammals.

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Ironically, the fisher cat doesn’t eat fish despite its name, but the name comes from French trappers who called their pelts “fichet”. The fisher is found in Southern Alaska, throughout Canada, California to Maine and the Rocky Mts, any of the northern forests.

The solitary Fisher cat roams the forest areas at night in the summer and sometimes in the day during the winter. Fisher cats breed in Feb to March but have delayed implantation, similar to bears, with fertilized eggs that lay dormant for 10-11 months then eggs implant to uterine wall. Kits are born after 1 ½ months with a litter of 1-4. Fishers are mature at 1yr and females produce their first litter at age 2. Dens are located in tree holes where the female protects and nurses the kits for 4 months. By 5 months the kits are the same size as the adults and killing prey. By late summer, the kits leave and become solitary hunters. The female covers 10 square miles in a circuit, while the male has a 30 mile circuit returning within a week to its first area.

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The screech is what most people remember about their first encounter with a fisher, while many people enter internet forums with recordings to find out what animal made that screech. If a fisher comes up close to you and lets off a screech, you will never forget it.   By Kathleen Kalina

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Tips on Choosing The Best Field Knife

It doesn’t matter how many knives you have at home. The one you reach for when you’re in the woods—to gut a deer, cut brush, carve a fuzz stick—that’s your field knife, your everyday companion. There’s no one perfect model, but here’s how to pick the ideal features for you.
1) Fixed or Folder?

Field-Knife-2 Field-Knife-5
The traditional choice, a fixed-blade knife is stronger than most folders. With no moving parts, it’s virtually fail-safe, and cleaning is as easy as wiping off grime and wiping on oil. If you need a deep belly for skinning big game, fixed is the primary choice due to the challenge of storing a wide folding blade inside its handle. A folder, on the other hand, makes everyday carry simple: Just pop it in your pocket. The increasing popularity of pocket-clip folders has spawned huge innovation in materials and designs, so the options are breathtaking. Bottom line: Fixed or folder, you can’t lose. But you have to choose.
2) Steel Yourself

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Basic steel is just iron and carbon. But there are hundreds of alloys. The least you need to know is that the more carbon, the harder the blade and the better it holds an edge—but too much can make a blade brittle. Also, adding chromium prevents rust (stainless steel usually has at least 12 percent), but it can soften the steel. It’s a balancing act. Here’s a breakdown:

Non-Stainless Steel: It rusts easily but makes a great blade if you take care. High-carbon examples (1095, D2) really hold an edge. A few are both hard and tough (A2, CPM 3V, 8670M).

​Stainless Steel: If you want low maintenance, this is the way to go. But low-carbon versions (18/8, 420, 440, 440A, AUS-6) can be too soft to get or keep a fine edge. More carbon or a harder alloy is better (440B and C, AUS-8 and 10, 8Cr14MoV, 154CM).

Powdered Steels: The newest stainless alloys (S30V, Elmax, M390) are made of powderlike granules that are heated to form very hard steels that take a wicked edge. They pretty much have it all—​­corrosion resistance, hardness, and strength. Naturally, you pay for it.

3) Get the Point

Field-Knife-4
Most field knives have a drop point or clip point, either of which may be combined with a deeper belly for skinning. The drop point is ideal for field dressing game without slicing innards. Its thicker tip also helps with separating joints and with heavy camp chores. If your hunting knife will double as a fish cleaner and camp-kitchen slicer, the finer clip point is the better choice, and it’s fine for gutting game as long as you’re careful with the tip.

4) Find the Grind

Field-Knife-5
Likewise, most field knives hew to one of two grinds: hollow or flat. A hollow-ground blade has a concave shape, as if material has been scooped out of the blade’s thickness. It’s easy to resharpen and best for shallow cuts, such as field dressing, cutting hide, and simple camp chores. A flat-ground blade is the more common choice; it is tougher, holds its edge better, and excels at deeper cuts, working around sinew and bone, and chopping food at camp.

Now that you know what to look for, check out our field knife gear test to see which brands of fixed and folder blades are worth their metal.

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Backpackers Checklist

backpack2 

The Means of A Check List

Packing a backpack seems like an easy task, until you are on the trail and forget one of the most essential items. We have prepared this infographic as well as the corresponding text to help you always pack exactly what you need. So go ahead and check it out. If you want to put it on your site there is code at the bottom as well.
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backpack

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FUN Camo Cupcake Sandwiches

camo_cupcake_sandwiches
Camo cupcakes are surprisingly easy to make considering how cool they look!

To make the cupcake sandwiches, start by mixing up a box of French vanilla cake batter, then divide the batter into four equal parts in four separate bowls. Use Kelly green, brown, and black gel dyes to tint the batter army green, black, brown, and beige (see handy-dandy chart, below).

camo_cupcake_batter

 

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Once all the batters are mixed up, spoon the batter bit by bit, color by color, into a whoopie pie pan – or to get the waffle effect shown here, use a Wilton ice cream sandwich pan instead.

Bake the cakes for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. After baking, remove each cake and cool on a wire rack, then sandwich them together with frosting that’s been tinted army green. Be sure to check out Debbie’s blog for her shortening-free whoopie pie frosting recipe!

camo_cupcake_sandwiches_pink

…and yes – you can make these in pink, too! (Adorable!)

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