Friday, March 25, 2011

What's in YOUR Coat?

We have been experiencing Pacific Northwest weather (which is to say, cold and rainy) lately and it just seems as if winter does not want to let go – we are actually expecting snow and sleet tonight. So, I have been wearing my coat longer than I planned this year but when my wife took this picture I figured it would be a good opportunity to tell y’all about my coat.

Relatives gave me money for Christmas one year and I spent it at Cabela’s on a Dry-Plus (Goretex after the patent ran out) parka with a fleece liner. I think it cost about $200. I am a size Large but I buy most of my shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and coats size XL. I like to have the ability to layer under them when it’s cold and I like to be able to conceal some useful items on my person without printing. Lately it’s been in the high thirties so I just wear the coat as a shell.

This parka is pretty neat. It has a BUNCH of pockets – 4 exterior and 3 interior and when I first put it on I thought I should just go ahead and put some useful items in there on a more or less permanent basis. That way, if I was ever “caught out” I might be able to make myself more comfortable.

The coat itself makes a fine shelter all on its own – I could sit up against a tree in the rain and just wait it out . It has a hood for rain protection or warmth and pit zips to allow for cooling. It is also the perfect camo-camo color – it blends well in the city and it disappears in the woods.

I did not “load” the coat for this blog post. I figured I’d just empty my pockets, take a picture and talk about it. So here we go. We can start in the upper left and work our way generally counter-clockwise. Try to keep up.

Paper napkin and some tissue – I reckon I was in line for food somewhere and just stuck them in my pocket. I didn’t put them back after I snapped the photo.

Knit cap – it’s not the same one I am wearing in the photo up top – it’s an acrylic Thinsulate hat because wool makes me itch. I don’t know if I’ve ever worn it because I usually grab some kind of hat on my way out the door. So it’s a spare.

Becker Knife and Tool knife. I have never used it and honestly – I forgot it was in there. I like the size, weight, and shape a lot and I guess I should go play with it to see if I like the steel and grind.

A pen and two large trash bags. The bags are for emergency shelter or emergency rain gear for people (like my daughter at a football game once) who get caught out without. I know, I know –she should know better. Actually she DOES know better. Kids...
Oh yeah, there is a Viking Pocket Fire on the one bag (lighter and inner tube) – hey, if you click on the photo it will enlarge for better detail.

Three granola bars and a throat lozenge. I used to have fruit in there too but I must have eaten it.

That’s a space blanket in the bottom right. I have a couple packets of Bio-Freeze a friend gave me one time and I forgot they were in there too – like I said, this coat has a lot of pockets.

A hank of 550 cord and my “EMT knife”. It has a seat belt cutter and is wicked sharp and pointy. I carry it in my off side pocket with that red flashlight you see there.

I keep a simple first aid kit in a one gallon Ziploc bag – two large gauze, some duct tape and a few Band-Aids.

S&W Airweight .38 Special and two speed strips of +P ammo for reloads. I keep it in a slightly modified pocket holster that a friend gave me. I cut it a bit to allow trigger access and I carry it in a pocket in such a way that I can ruin my coat if an up close and personal emergency occurs. I don’t keep the handgun in the coat all the time but it was in there today.

So there you go. I don’t carry a “survival kit” but I could do pretty well with this coat and what I typically carry in it. No, there is no water but I usually have a bottle with me – I had two bottles in the shoulder bag in the first pic.

I hope you found something useful and interesting in this post. I’ll see ya out there.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. – Matthew 24:15 - 21

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, March 07, 2011

Death and Life at HPA

It has been a rough two weeks here at High Prairie Acres.
The picture is of our Anatolian Shepherd puppy and was taken about a month ago when he was 8 weeks old. We called him Bru or Bruski. He had just started working with the goats, and he had figured the shepherd thing out. He would bristle and bark (pretty deeply for a pup) at approaching dogs, or chickens that he didn’t recognize as such because they were too far away (hey, it could have been a BIG THING farther away! It takes time to get used to such things as range and what is normal on the farm). He was our daughter’s puppy.

Past tense.

Long story short, he drowned in our pool/pond. Our above ground pool quit being a pool two years ago and instead, became our pond. Ducks swim in it; gold fish grow in it and I had plans to divert our house roof water into it and then pipe the overflow into an-as-yet-to-be-made small pond. I was also planning a solar pump affair where I could pump the “dirty” (nutrient rich) water from the pool to our large vegetable garden.

Well, two dogs walked out onto the ice when no one was watching, the ice cracked and they fell in. The larger dog lived but the pup didn’t make it. It was really quite tragic. Not only was the death of Bru a sad shame – the dogs just tore up the liner trying to get out and now our pool/pond has only about two feet of water in it. A new liner cost us $400 three years ago. So, the pool is coming down and going away and I’ll plant something that does well in sand where it once stood. Any ideas?

We have also had a critter sneaking in and killing our chickens. We are down to only a few. Every few days we’d find a dead, half eaten bird. We then discovered the culprit – our Aussie Shepherd/Blue Heeler. Yep, Drover is a chicken killer. We have tried all the “remedies” and they don’t work. They didn’t work with another dog we had years ago either. Once they get a taste for fresh chicken blood it is darn near impossible to get it out of them. Drover is a beautiful boy. House broken, polite, comes when called, sits, etc. But he kills chickens. We tried to give him away but no luck. His days are numbered here at HPA.

Regular readers will know that we raise goats. We like Alpine Boer crosses. About ¾ Alpine and ¼ Boer so that we can milk the girls and the boys have some meat on their bones to eat. Last year we got an Oberhaslie (also a milk goat) and bred her to a Boer. She had triplets on “Easter” – Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. It was difficult for her.

This year she looked like she was carrying at least twins. And then she went down. As in – wouldn’t stand up.
For a few days. We did everything three different vets and four different goatherds told us to do. She went into labor – for about 48 hours. The first kid came out (with assistance) dead. The next morning I checked on her as I went out for a jog. She had a little goat foot sticking out of her. I pulled gently on it and it pulled back – “good, it’s alive”. I decided if it was still there an hour later when I got back I’d see what I could do. It was and I pulled and maneuvered the little guy as Brownie contracted – he was born!
He did great – for one day. Then he crashed too. We tried to help him but he died about 4 hours later. That was yesterday and Brownie is still not standing up - I think her days are numbered also. Well I know they are - even if she lives, I doubt we will be able to milk her and we certainly cannot breed her again. I'm not into feeding critters that don't produce - it sounds hard, it sounds cruel but it is farm economics. As much as we love them - they aren't pets. They are livestock.

Last year, someone gave us a registered, papered Red Boer. They are supposedly rare and expensive. Last night, we took her to a friend’s house. Our friend recently “got into goats” and also purchased a three year old Anatolian. She had about four goats and had a borrowed Boer billy so we took our girl over to get bred. The dog killed our goat sometime last night.

That’s just how it goes sometimes I reckon but, MAN! It’s been a tough couple weeks.

Today however we got a delivery of 60 chicks. Half Barred Rock roosters and half Barred Rock hens. I think they are about the perfect all around farmstead chicken. We’ll see. They have taken to their new temporary home just fine. Very soon though we are going to have to expand their personal space and we have not yet decided if we will get another trough or what. All of our other troughs are currently being used to water critters.

So that’s life here at HPA.

I’ll see ya out there!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
- Eccleasiastes 3:1 - 8


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mora Neck Knife

For a few years in the early part of this century I was a Boy Scouts scoutmaster. It was a lot of fun and I think I was able to pass on some useful stuff to boys in my troop. One thing I instituted early on in my tenure was an addition to the weekly uniform inspection. In addition to checking for proper wear of the uniform at weekly meetings and prior to campouts, we would do a “Fire and Steel check”. When a Scout leader said “Fire and Steel!” the Scouts would have to hold up their knife and a means of starting a fire.

As an aside, I laugh (if I didn’t I’d likely weep) at folks on the Internet who say things like, “Boy Scouts cannot carry a sheath knife” or “Boy Scouts cannot wear camouflage”. My Scouts did both – and yes, at District events also.

Anyway, back to the post: I have always liked Mora knives. They are inexpensive and work well within their intended parameters. I do dislike the sheaths, however. They are cheaply made and look ugly. So, I decided to make one of my Moras “cool” from a scouting perspective.

Basically, I modified the sheath and hung cool do-dads on it. First I cut off the belt loop and then affixed a long leather thong to the sheath by wrapping it first with dental floss and then covering the whole with epoxied on leather. I left enough extra to cut fringes. You will notice the necklace is adjustable for length – sometimes I wore it over just my Boy Scouts shirt, sometimes I wore it over (and outside of) my parka.

A good friend gave me the little leather pouch which holds blood tubes stuffed with PJBs (petroleum jelly coated cotton balls) and a piece of wax impregnated cardboard. Both are excellent for starting fires. I also have a small Boy Scouts ferrocerium rod “sparker” and a striker fashioned from a bit of hacksaw blade (it works well at sparking and I could possibly use it as a small saw also). You will notice the handle of the knife is covered in part by a piece of bicycle inner tube. You can read Viking Pocket Fire to see how to use it. Yes, I modified the knife handle a bit – just sanded the paint off, then carved it a bit, sanded some more and stained it – all to “make it mine”.

My Mora is made from carbon steel and has a full, though skinny, tang. I sharpened the upper “false edge” and blued it with some liquid cold blue. I keep it oiled with vegetable oil so I am not afraid to slice and eat an apple or something. This knife can get wicked sharp – another long story entails me slicing my thumb to the bone –yes, to the bone (my bad). But it does need to be touched up a bit while in the field so I also attached a DMT flat diamond hone. If you click on the photo it will enlarge - you may notice that the top/back of the knife is nicked. I have started a few fires with flint (real flint - the rocks, not ferrocerium)with this blade as well.

Because I don’t want to open cans with my Mora, I also attached a P38 can opener. That completes it. Sure, I could have added other stuff. A whistle comes to mind but I really wasn’t trying to create a “survival necklace” I just wanted to have some useful stuff handy when I needed it. And that’s the key to my little contraption – I actually used the stuff on my neck knife ensemble. I doubt I would have used a whistle.

And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. – Ezekiel 5:1

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America