Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Predicting The Weather

When all systems fail and you are painfully reminded that "weather" is not just something you can ignore, by closing a window or changing the settings on your air condition or central heating, you will find out that weather prediction is a vital tool in your survivalist tool kit.

But you do not need a weather station or weather charts to be able to predict the next 48 hours of weather:

You can do that by using these simple guidelines to make observations, they will turn out to be fairly precise!

Indicators for improving weather:

- fog at evening

- single Cumulus clouds moving in wind direction

- very high located, strangely shaped feather clouds (Cirrus clouds) , with fast moving Cumulus clouds beneath

Cirrus Clouds

Cumulus Clouds

Indicators for good weather:

- afterglow at evening promises good weather for the coming day

- strong dew development at evening or in the first half of the night means, that you don`t have to expect rain for the following day

- high flying swallows and croaking frogs are a promise for good weather

- early fog dissolving  at dawn is a sure sign for good weather the same day

- if small fragments are tearing themselves lose from large clouds you can expect clear weather

- if compact Cumulus clouds are predominant the weather will be good and dry. If temperatures are high thunderstorms are likely.

Indicators for deteriorating/worsening weather:

- several different types of clouds appear in the sky

- a red dawn means rain at afternoon

- low flying, ragged clouds moving fast are an indicatior for rain coming soon

Indicators for bad weather:

- a low pressure is indicated by fast moving "feather clouds" (Cirrus)

- high flying "feather clouds" (Cirrus clouds)  are a sign for bad weather

- fast build up of Cumulus clouds is an indicator for rain - during summer: thunder storms.

- (for central Europe) Westerly or southerly wind are an indicator for a weather change

- if the wind comes from the same direction over a longer period, during clear sky, the likelihood for rain the following day is high

- large amounts of  grey Cumulus clouds (Stratocumulus or Cumulonimbus) are an indicator for rain coming soon

- if far away objects suddenly appear close, rain will come soon

- when stones or cliff sides are getting moist with condensation rain or snow will come soon

- lack of dew in the morning means rain later

- low flying swallows, jumping frogs and fish are indicators for deteriorating weather

- pale yellow sunset is an indicator for rain.

- a deep yellow sunset means wind or storm

- a halo around the sun or moon are indicators for long lasting rain or snow

- blinking stars are an indicator for that clear weather will turn into overcast weather with rain or snow. The stronger the blinking, the stronger the change of weather

Drop in temperature:

- cold weather is to be expected when fog is developing in lower areas during the evening and night.

- when "high fog" (low stratus)  is developing on clear, wind still days cold weather is coming

- yellow/brownish coloration of dawn indicates long lasting frost or increasing frost

Low Stratus

If all these fail...then you can always fall back on the weather stone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Poncho Rain Catcher

To collect rainwater is the easiest way to get drinking water.
It is also the cleanest water, depending on local pollution standards, you can get your hands on when you have to be creative to keep your supply flowing.
There are not many disadvantages to this method has to rain!
Also: Rain water becomes foul very fast, so it is almost for instant consumption only.
Stretching a poncho out between some trees is the best method in my opinion: The poncho serves as shelter and rain catcher.

My 2 sqm poncho stretched out.

I tied a bottle to the ponchos head hole. Notice that I used two
strings: One to tie the bottle to the poncho, another to "crimp" the
poncho around the bottles mouth.

And it rains...

This is why I crimped the poncho over the bottles mouth: The water
drips directly into the bottle and not down the sides.

30 minutes of rain = 1 L of water.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Field Well

A Field Well is both a seep and Improvised Water Filter :

By allowing the water to filter through the earth AND the field wells filtering layer you greatly reduce your chance of ingesting germs.

Find a area with moist earth/muddy earth, you will find these easily at the slope of hills or mountains (low lying areas in general), and dig a funnel like hole until water starts to seep into the hole.

Place a bucket/barrel, with holes in the bottom or without bottom, in the hole and fill it with at least 30 cm of pebbles and sand.

This layer will work as filter and will remove most particles.

Scoop out the muddy/dirty water as is appears in the well until the water is clear, this can take some time but will result in clean water...and probably the best you ever tasted!

But I recommend to boil or SODIS the water if you have the means to do so! Filtering well water instead of surface water will also extend your filters lifespan.

A well like this will attract wildlife, so putting a lid over it is a good idea otherwise it is a good idea to scoop most of the water out of the well and allow it to fill again before drinking.

(On the plus side you will find that your well will become a great spot to catch animals.)

It took me HOURS to make this drawing with MS paint if you have to steal it: At least give me the credit for it mkay?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Improvised Bicycle Tyre

Allegedly this method was used by French refugees during World War 2, I will try to find a picture or other documentation to confirm this....

However, since our bikes play a vital role in several of our bug-out scenarios I decided to test this method.

I found the instruction in the worlds best book: "The Ashley`s Book of Knots"

My bicycle in "everyday" mode.

I hope I don`t regret this..

I stick the line through the hole for the valve.

Now crate a loop out of a thinner line and place it under the first.
Run the line around the wheel opposite to the direction the wheel will turn.

Start with 2-3 turns for the bottom layer.

3-4 turns for the middle layer.

And again 2-3 turns for the top layer.

Now use the loop to pull the rest of the line UNDER the bottom layers.

Does it work? 

Yes,but riding your bike with one of these improvised tyres will eventually be hard on your wheel/spokes. But its a good way to prevent damage to your wheel when you have to push your bike over a longer distance.

Conclusion: Good to know how it`s done, but ONLY as a last ditch method!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bugging out 101: Get Off Your Feet And Onto Your Bike

If you have to bug out (leaving your home with a maximum of equipment, relocating to a safe place) by any means: Do it by bicycle!
Nothing beats the bicycle in terms of fuel efficiency (your bacon), mobility and yes...also stealth!
Yes sure, your car feels safe and it moves you fast from A to B by the power of liquefied dinosaurs. But that "safety" only lasts as long you can get before mentioned dinosaurs in your tank!
Bugging out by foot should the last option on your list, especially if you have children.
"But how about your children when you bug out by bike? What then, huh? What THEN?!" The average survival-online-specialist asks, with a mouthful of Pringles and a BMI over 40.
Well, my adipose friend: There are bike TRAILERS!
There are plenty of those on the market and I went straight for the best one:
The Croozer!
The Croozer is a two seated trailer to transport your children in. It can be made into a pram/pushcart within seconds.

My precious!

Lots of space for two children...

...and for luggage + spare parts

The Croozer in pram mode..or as push cart.

A lot of people told me that I can`t use the Croozer during
winter....I guess I proved them wring: There is no such thing
as bad weather...just incorrect clothing!
I use the Croozer a lot and and accordingly to ENDEMONDO I accumulate 3-400 km a month just by bringing my kids to school/preschool and other everyday chores. Most of the time with 10-60 kg worth of "cargo".

"You should (most people who tell you that you "should" something never done/have it themselves) get a mountain bike, a FAT bike or even better an ELECTRIC bike!"

Thank you, but I stick to my touring bike (it goes by the name of "Bukefalos").

Being over 1,90 m also limits my choice of mountain bikes/fat bikes....soooo.

And electric bikes? What am I? 80?

But hey, I am appreciative of laziness and found a way around it myself:

Instead of an expensive electric bike using precious dear electricity...I use my KIDS!

Children do nothing else than converting food into energy and it would be stupid not to make good use of that abundance.

So I got myself an outboard engine for my bike (well actually it`s a tow bar, this is how I teach my children safe conduct in traffic):


So I Bought A Carbide Lamp

Carbide lamp in action.

I have one of these Petromax lamps, I bought it because I FELT a survivalist SHOULD have one.

Oh, don`t get me wrong! Petromax lanterns are great! They are highly effective, give off a lot of light and heat (I even bought an adapter so I could cook meals on top of the lamp, and it works quite well!) and are a testimony for German engineering skills. 

Exactly therein lies the problem: German engineers expect you to adapt to technology even though it is counter intuitive.

My Petromax lamp: Brialliant but over complicated

And: High pressure petroleum lamps are a high maintenance affair: You need special oil (with a shelf life as long as a banana lying next to an apple!), "glow socks" (a gas mantle in which pressurized petroleum is injected in vapor form) and spare not get me started on spare parts!

So I wanted something simple and easy...or handle. And came to think of carbide lamps.

Getting your hands on to carbide lamps in Poland is simple: Poland is/was coal country and plenty of old miners carbide lamps are in circulation.
However, I found this model which is still in production in Japan :-)

Here is is in all its glory! My FUJI carbide lamp.

The two gas nozzles. From here acetylene gas escapes at high pressure.

The magic stuff: Calcium Carbide is cheap as dirt and is sold in most
building markets. One of the advantages the carbide lamp has over a
petroleum lamp is that carbide will be widely available even AFTER a
SHTF scenario....and that it can be stored indefinitely.

1 kg of carbide cost around 5 Euro.

This small amount of carbide will be enough for 30 minutes of light/heat.

This is the water tank with regulator valve: Calcium Carbide reacts with
water and gives off highly flammable acetylene gas.

Water dripping from the tank and the exit
(for the gas) leading to the nozzles

The carbide reacts with the water immediately and produces gas.
(You can hear a hissing sound when the reaction starts)

"That`s all very well!" you`d say "but can that thing make coffee?!"

Let`s find out!

I think I can answer that question with YES :-)

The lamp gives a very bright light.