outdoors

Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

The Big Idea: Today’s level of overconsumption and resource-depletion is unsustainable.
Ch. 1: Children, Chores, Humility, and Health
  • Historically, children had chores and responsibilities that taught them how to be an adult.
  • Our children were homeschooled, never had television, and were encouraged to pursue entrepreneurial adventures.
  • I don’t believe in allowances.
  • 50 years ago, 50% of produce grown in America came from backyard gardens.  Gardening teaches children about responsibility and nature.
  • According to the hygiene hypothesis, sheltering children from dirt and minor pathogens leads to allergies, asthma, and a weaker immune systems.
Ch. 2: A Cat Is a Cow Is a Chicken Is My Aunt
  • Traditional agricultures has always used grazing animals to replenish the soil.
  • The circle of life demands that something must die for something to live.
  • Animal activists will learn more working on a functioning organic farm with animals than sitting in air-conditioned home, reading articles on the internet.
  • Chickens and pigs are great for turning scraps into fertilizer.
  • Nobody in the world goes hungry because of lack of food production.  What kills people is food distribution problems.
  • Heifer International is getting it right, by starting with livestock.
  • Not all plants are good.  Many grains, grown industrially, devastate our topsoil.
  • If people knew more about where food came from, we would all be better off.
  • Can you name four vegetables that grow underground?  Above ground? Legumes?
  • Spend some serious time on a farm.
  • Start a backyard vegetable garden.
  • Eat more grass-fed beef and less chicken and less pork.
  • Raise small livestock (rabbits, chickens).
  • Take your kids hunting.

Ch. 3: Hog Killin’s and Laying in the Larder

  • The average town only has three days’ supply of food.
  • The first supermarket in America appeared in the 1940’s.
  • Nobody goes hungry because of lack of food.  They go hungry due to a lack of distribution.
  • Having all food available all year is not natural.
  • Lack of food security, caused by our current system makes us vulnerable.
  • Buy more food from local farmers.
  • Learn how to preserve food.
  • Buy a big freezer and store more food.
  • Start a 19th-century hobby.
  • Grow some food on your property.

Ch. 4: Wrappings, Trappings, and Foil

  • Book: Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Learn how to preserve your own food.
  • Learn how to extend your gardening season with cool-season crops like brassicas, carrots, beets, and greens.
  • Take your own containers to the farmer’s market and grocery store.
  • Reduce or eliminate buying processed foods.  They are responsible for all the wasteful packaging.
  • Get a ton of stackable, reusable containers.
  • Get a good thermos.

Ch. 5: Lawn Farms and Kitchen Chickens

  • Long distance distribution now defines the modern food system.
  • Half of all food fit for human consumption never gets eaten.  Much is lost to long-distance transportation.
  • Lots of farmland is going underused because farmers are getting older and the children are not farmers.
  • You can’t preserve farmland without preserving farmers.
  • Urban farm example: raised beds, chicken yard, worm farm.
  • Will Allen, Growing Power in Milwaukee: fish, hoophouses, warm farm.
  • Small Plot Intensive Farming (SPIN): half-acre, vertical stacking, polyculture.
  • Combining plants and animals gets the best of both worlds.
  • America has 35mm acres of lawns and 36mm acres of land for recreational horses.  And much more for golf courses.
  • Cheap energy masks the true cost of our food system.
  • We’ve traded our backyard gardens and neighborhood farms for Chinese imports and mega-crops filled with diseases.
  • Plant edible landscape.
  • Use marginal land.
  • Eat locally.
  • Raise backyard chickens.

Ch. 6: Dino-the-Dinosaur-Shaped Nuggets Don’t Grow on Chickens

  • People today have forgotten how to cut up a whole chicken.
  • Get a slow cooker.
  • Today’s kitchen is nothing more than an unpackaging center for packaged food.
  • Learn how to cook a complete meal from scratch.
  • Process something simple for yourself, like applesauce.
  • Everyone pitches in with cleaning up after dinner.

Ch. 7: We Only Serve White Meat Here

  • A quarter of all food is now eaten in automobiles.
  • Eat more home cooked meals and save more leftovers.
  • Eat more soups.  They are easy to prepare/store and way better than fast food.

Ch. 8: Disodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate-Yum!

  • Quit buying processed food with ingredients you can’t pronounce.  It’s terrible for your gut biome.
  • Buy organic and local from farmer’s markets.

Ch. 9: No Compost, No Digestion

  • Food that doesn’t decompose isn’t normal.
  • Get chickens to turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer.
  • Get earthworms to turn kitchen scraps into earthworm castings for your garden.
  • Buy only perishable food.
  • The only stable foods at ambient temperature are normally nuts and dehydrated foods.

**Ch. 10 The Poop, the Whole Poop, and Nothing but the Poop

  • On some farms, half the workload can be shoveling manure.
  • Cities in the early 1900’s would suffocate in horse manure.
  • Soil fertility is linked to manure.
  • Cheap energy led to chemical fertilization.
  • Soil is fundamentally a living organism.
  • Book: The Complete Book of Composting by Rodale
  • Composting + intensive pasture management with herbivores and electric fencing = productive soil.
  • We should not be feeding herbivores grain.  It’s not their natural diet.

Ch. 11: Park, Plant, and Power

  • We are too dependent on cheap oil, even as we are reaching or have reached peak oil.
  • Before petroleum people acquired their own energy.
  • Before petroleum, people didn’t commute.  They lived where they worked.
  • Without petroleum, the suburbs will have to become more self-sufficient or else collapse from lack of food.
  • Green trend: living where you work
  • Green trend: passive solar gains at home
  • Green trend: edible landscaping
  • Green trend: backyard chickens and rabbits
  • Green trend: biodiesel

Ch. 12: Roofless Underground Dream Houses

  • Earth-sheltered home are naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • A methane digester can take care of human waste.
  • A solar water heater would run showers and hot water faucets.
  • A clothesline would replace a dryer.
  • Gray water would irrigate vegetables and fruits.
  • Rain water would collect in the cistern.
  • A small woodstove would supplement passive solar gain.
  • A solar array or windmill would supply energy.
  • Earth berming would keep the house cool in the summer.
  • Tiny houses are replacing McMansions.
  • Buy tiny homes that are built with local materials.
  • Book: Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire.
  • Book: The Moving Feast
  • Hogs in forests help to stimulate growth.

Ch. 13: Grasping for Water

  • Water is the most essential and overlooked resource.
  • Less than 22 inches of annual rainfall is brittle (vs. temperate.)
  • Permaculturists are deep ecologists who understand the need to collect, preserve, and use water efficiently.
  • The key concept is to slow down and hold onto rainwater on your land.
  • Use water barrels.
  • Use greywater instead of clean water for toilets and landscaping.
  • Consider alternative toilets like composting toilets or moldering toilets.
  • Dig more ponds.

Ch. 14: Mob Stocking Herbivorous Solar Conversion Lignified Carbon Sequestration Fertilization

  • Traditional farms used to be very diversified, with varieties of plants and animals working together. Modern farms specialize in one crop or animal.
  • Perennials and herbivores build soil naturally.
  • Perennials are great for building soil because they put all their energy into accumulating root reserves. They sequester lots of CO2.
  • Herbivores forage on these grasslands and close the loop.
  • Too much grain production leads to deserts.
  • Herbivores + grazing management + grasslands + compost can build great soil on eroded bare rock.
  • Traditionally, herbivores (cows, sheep, goats) were a stable and omnivores (chickens, pigs) were a luxury. Grains were expensive.
  • Cheap oil reversed this. Omnivores > Herbivores.
  • Grassland is as efficient as trees at sequestering carbon.
  • Grass + herbivores is nature’s miracle cycle.
  • Eat more grass-fed beef, less chicken, less pork, less soy.

Ch. 15: Let’s Make a Despicable Farm

  • Today’s animal farms are kept alive only by cheap oil, animal pharma, and money.

Ch. 16: Scientific Mythology: Centaurs and Mermaids Now in Supermarkets

  • Buy organic, local, unprocessed, non-genetically modified food.

Ch. 17: You Get What You Pay For

  • Farmers are often synonymous with peasants.
  • To save our environment, farming needs to attract more of our best and brightest people. Even at the very small-scale with backyard vegetable gardens and chicken coops.
  • Buy less, but higher quality food and be willing to pay more if needed.

Ch. 18: Get Your Grubby Hands

  • When you tax inheritance, you destroy farms.
  • Prosecute anyone who pollutes, especially industrial agriculture.
  • Reign back eminent domain.

Ch. 19: Sterile Poop and Other Unsavory Cultural Objectives

  • Our legal system is set up to support industrial, mono-species farms, not small, diversified family farms.

Ch. 20: I Hereby Release You from Being Responsible for Me

  • Frivolous lawsuits cost millions of dollars.
  • Due to the risk of litigation, people confuse safe with sterile.
  • Our legal system needs reform.

Ch. 21: I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Help You — Right

  • The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. –Thomas Jefferson
  • If we want to raise responsible children, we cannot protect them from every risk.
  • Quit buying from industrial food systems.
  • The answer is not regulations that limit competition but favor industrial agriculture.

Ch. 22: The Church of Industrial Food’s Unholy Food Inquisition

  • The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is the small farmer’s version of the NRA, built to protect small farmers and food rights.

SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman

The Big Idea: if you head out to the wilderness, tell someone exactly where you are going. Take a wilderness survival course to learn how to survive for a few days until you are found.

  • The average person requires 0.5 liters of water a day.
  • Three fires are an internationally recognized distress signal.  SOS is also widely recognized.
  • Carry matches and learn how to build a fire.
  • Learn how to forage for edible plants and mushrooms and how to avoid poisonous ones.
  • Learn how to identify and use a few key medicinal plants.
  • Take a wilderness survival class and a wilderness first aid class.

Aquaponic Gardening by Sylvia Bernstein

The Big Idea: Aquaponic gardening is a symbiotic, permaculture-friendly version of gardening in which fish supply nutrients to plants, which then remove all fish waste from the water.

  • Aquaculture dates back to 5th century B.C. China
  • Benefits of aquaponics: completely organic, cheaper than hydroponics, minimal maintenance, minimal fertilizer, lots of vegetable production, fewer diseases, no weeding, no watering, growing fish is a bonus
  • In warm weather states, you can have an aquaponics system outdoors year-round.  Just watch out for insects.
  • The “basic flood and drain” setup is good for beginners. In this system, gravity carries water from the grow bed to the fish tank and a pump carries it back.
  • Use a 1:1 grow bed volume to fish tank volume for the basic flood and drain setup.
  • More advanced setups: CHOP, CHOP2, Barrel-ponics
  • Stock your tank with 0.1-0.2 lb of fish per gallon of tank water.
  • Place your fish tank in the shade if you put it outdoors.  Also partially cover it to help prevent debris and algae growth.
  • IBC totes are ideal for aquaponics systems. You can also use a bathtub for a vintage look.
  • For your grow media, use gravel or expanded clay (Hydroton). Grow media is the replacement for soil, and houses beneficial worms and bacteria.
  • Use only dechlorinated water.  Protect your water from changes in temperature, pH, oxygen levels.
  • Fish that work well: tilapia, goldfish, catfish, koi, shrimp.
  • Choose a fish depending on your needs and climate.
  • Supplement commercial fish feed with duckweed, worms, black soldier fly larvae.
  • All plants (except those requiring acidic or basic soil) grow well in aquaponics systems.
  • Nitrosomonas and Nitrospria bacteria convert fish waste into nitrites and nitrates, which are less harmfell to fish and nourish the plants.
  • Worms digest solid waste and dead root matter into valuable vermicompost tea for the plants.
  • Cycle the system with half of your fish to get your system started.
  • Check system levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates regularly.
  • Check pH. temperature, and check for insects regularly.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Last year, I planted my first ever square root, raised bed vegetable garden with my girlfriend and had no idea what I was doing.  This year, I’ll read up on it first.  Brilliant, right?

The Big Idea: Square foot, raised bed gardening will give you more vegetables with much less work, money, and space. For the home gardener, smaller is better. 

Why square foot gardens?

  • Makes your work easier since there is less soil and less garden to take care of
  • Makes water faster since there’s less garden to water
  • Makes weeding easier since there’s less garden to weed
  • Creates living mulch which helps create healthier soil and keep weeds away
  • Is more pleasant to look at, which makes you more like to spend time caring for your garden
  • Makes vegetable garden more practical for urbanites, since you can have a productive garden almost anywhere
  • Makes protective plants from the weather or pests with a cage or box possible since the garden is smaller
  • Gives the soil the right texture since you will never be walking on the soil.

How do you get started?

  • Build or buy a box with sides about 12″ high.
  • Place the box in an area with lots of sunshine.
  • Fill the box with good soil and compost.
  • Divide the box into 12″ x 12″ squares.
  • Each 12″ x 12″ square should get one type of vegetable.
  • Decide what you want to grow (look this up in a reference book or web site.)
  • Some vegetables (peppers) require the entire 12″ x 12″ square.  Other vegetables (carrots) can fit 16 to a 12″ x 12″ square.
  • Keep tall-growing plants on the north side of your garden.
  • Support your tall-growing, vining plants like tomatoes and cucumbers with stakes, cages, or trellises.
  • Look up which month to plant which vegetables.  (The average growing season is May to September.)
  • Water with a bucket of warm water and a cup.  Daily, when they are just starting, then weekly, or more, if you live in a hot climate.
  • Weed your garden once a week.
  • Remove pests by hand if you can, or use natural pest deterrents.
  • Fertilize as needed.
  • Harvest when ready (look this up in a reference book or web site.)

Basic Wilderness Life Support

This was from a wilderness medicine course I took at BCM.

The Big Idea: boil all water, clean wounds with soap and water, wash off poison ivy within 1-4 hours, do not suck out snake venom, splint possible fractures, seek medical attention

Essentials for Wilderness Travel

  • map, compass, knife, matches, flashlight, first aid kit, sunglasses/sunscreen, extra food, extra clothes, water
  • first aid kit/prevention: blister prevention, insect repellant, gloves
  • first aid kit/procedures: splint, scissors, duct tape, zip lock bags, safety pins, tweezers, syringe
  • first aid kit/medication: topical antibiotics/antiseptics, tylenol, imodium, benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, aloe, antifungal, epipen
  • first aid kit/wound: gloves, bandaids, irrigation, wound closure strips, moleskin, povidone-iodine, benzoin, dressings, antiseptic towelletes, alcohol swabs, gauze, antibiotic ointment, Ace bandage, Q-tip, triangular bandage
  • vehicle first aid kit: large burn dressings, rope, splints, blankets, radio, shovel, chains, food, water, fire extinguisher, candle, saw, flares

Water

  • use screen (bandana) to remove debris
  • let water stand for debris to settle, then decant from the top
  • boil to kill hep A, bacteria, enteric viruses, crypto, giardia
  • if you can’t boil, filtration works for all except viruses
  • if you can’t boil, chemical disinfection (iodine/chlorine) works for all except helminths and protozoa
  • chlorine dioxide is highly effective against all

Assessment

  • ABCDE: airway, breathing, circulation, disability, environment
  • if not breathing, CPR: 30 chest compressions, 2 rescue breaths
  • never move a victim with possible spinal injuries, unless you have to

Wounds

  • abrasions: minimal blood loss, painful, foreign objects
  • lacerations: high risk of infection, foreign objects, animal bites
  • first degree burn: red, treat with aloe, damp cloth
  • second degree burn: blistered, treat with cool water, antibacterial ointment, dressing, possible evac
  • third degree burn: all layers burned, nerve damage, possible reduced pain, evac
  • 1st treatment for bleeding: direct pressure for several minutes, longer for scalp wounds
  • 2nd treatment for bleeding: after direct pressure, pressure points (axillary artery, femoral artery) and elevation
  • tourniquet: last resort for bleeding, may result in amputation, tie a cloth around limb and tighten by turning a stick through the knot
  • irrigate wound with lots of clean water to help prevent infection
  • remove foreign matter from wound if possible
  • don’t worry about closing a wound, worry more about irrigating and dressing it well
  • use tape to close a cleaned and irrigated wound
  • dressing: antibiotic/antiseptic ointment, dressing, gauze, tape
  • check dressings 1-2x daily for infections
  • alternative topical antimicrobial: unprocessed honey
  • scrub abrasions well, even if painful
  • keep thumbs and fingers for possible re-implantations, keep cold but do not ice directly
  • lacerations to eyelids, ears should evac
  • deep lacerations to limbs: test strength, full range of motion, sensation, for possible tendon and nerve damage
  • puncture wounds: don’t forcefully irrigate or might push in debris, scrub and dress, do not close, evaluate frequently for infections
  • bites: clean very well, look for debris, evaluate frequently for infections
  • blister: okay to puncture large blisters

Sprains, Dislocations, and Fractures

  • sprain: stretching or tearing of ligaments, knee/ankle, similar symptoms to fracture
  • dislocation: bone pulled out of its socket, shoulder, elbow, finger, kneecap, compare joint to the uninjured side
  • fracture: closed vs open, difficult to diagnose without X-rays
  • sprain/fracture: assume it’s fractured, splint, evac
  • neck/back, pelvic, femur fractures: very serious, helicopter evac
  • splinting: remove jewelry before swelling, recheck circulation and sensation after splinting
  • sprain: RICES for 72 hours (rest, ice, compression, elevation, stabilization)
  • dislocations: reduce if you know how, otherwise evac

Drowning

  • drowning: body involuntary breathes, water enters lung, lung injury, decreased oxygen to brain, death if not rescued
  • pass out after 3 minutes, brain damage after 5 minutes
  • CPR if victim not breathing: 2 rescue breaths, 30 chest compressions
  • no special drainage procedures to empty water out of the lungs or stomach
  • if no symptoms, observe victims for 6 hours

Medical Problems

  • chest pain: rest and take a history (OLDCARTS), if in doubt chew aspirin and evac
  • shortness of breath: rest and take a history (OLDCARTS), if no resolution evac
  • seizures: let it run its course, after it stops roll patient on side, first time seizures (low blood sugar, head injury, CNS infection, toxicity, stroke) require rapid evac
  • stroke: lack of blood flow to the brain, helicopter evac
  • diabetes/low blood sugar: clammy skin, weakness, confusion, give sugar and evac
  • diabetes/high blood sugar: confusion, blurry vision, nausea, fruity smelling breath, give lots of fluids with electrolytes, evac
  • local allergic reaction: cold packs, hydrocortisone cream, benadryl
  • generalized allergic reaction: epipen+benadryl
  • abdominal pain: too many possible causes so just evac

Bites and Stings

  • get your tetanus vaccination
  • all wounds: irrigate with water, clean with soap and water, dress with clean cloth
  • dog/cat bites: consider oral antibiotics
  • wild animal attacks in the US are rare
  • rabies: skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats
  • black bear: try to scare away, if attacked get into fetal position
  • brown bear: stand quietly, do not run, if attacked get into fetal position
  • cougar: do not run away, try to scare off, pick up children
  • snakes (pit viper): mostly hemotoxic, support airway/breathing/circulation, evac, bite kits ineffective, do not tourniquet, do not use alcohol, do not use aspirin, do not ice
  • snakes (coral): red on black venom lack — red on yellow kill a fellow, wrap limb tightly in elastic bandage
  • mosquitos: most active at dusk, use DEET, put campsite should be high and away from standing water
  • spiders (black widow): catch the spider, clean the bite with soap and water, evac
  • spiders (brown recluse): painless bite, swollen after 2-8 hours, catch the spider, clean the bite, look for white core with white/blue border, elevate limb, systemic signs means get to hospital
  • spider (hobo): brown spider with yellow green dorsal abdomen, no need to evac unless systemic symptoms
  • ticks: remove ticks within 48 hours to prevent Lyme, use twizzers only
  • ants/bees/wasps: treat generalized allergic reactions with epipen
  • scorpions: only bark scorpion is dangerous, clean sting, apply ice and oral pain meds, rapid evac if bark scorpion
  • jellyfish/man-o-war: rinse with seawater/vinegar (except man-o-war)/alcohol, do not use freshwater/rub/warm water
  • sea snake: begins painless, then aches and fatigue within 2-3 hours, immobilize limb, no ice, no suction, no incision, rapid evac
  • poison ivy/oak/sumac: poison ivy = leaves of three let it be, never burn the leaves, watch with soap and water within 1-4 hours, hydrocortisone cream asap (except face/genitals), benadryl/calamine for relief

Lightning

  • most common cause of death in a lightning victim is cardiopulmonary arrest
  • continue to give rescue breathing once a victim recovers a pulse because drive to breathe is often delayed
  • treat unconscious/no-pulse/no-breathing victims first (reverse triage)
  • no need to worry about touching a lightning strike victim
  • avoid being the tallest object in an open field
  • avoid being next to the tallest object in an open field
  • seek shelter in a low area under small trees
  • avoid open doors and windows, metal objects

Heat Injuries

  • heat cramps: oral salt replacement and hydration
  • heat fainting: lie the victim flat so blood can flow back from legs to brain
  • heat exhaustion: cool victim and rehydrate
  • heat stroke: emergency, lack of active sweating, CNS disturbance, ice packs, evaporate cooling, rapid evac

Cold Injuries

  • hypothermia: rewarm the patient
  • cold rescue: no one is dead until they are warm and dead
  • frostbite: elevate the extremity, thawing and rewarming should be done by a doctor, doctor will rapid rewarm with warm water not fire
  • trenchfoot: rewarm foot, resolves spontaneously

Altitude Sickness

  • acute mountain sickness: rest, tylenol
  • high altitude cerebral edema: unsteady gait, fatigue, immediate descent and evac, full recovery can take weeks
  • high altitude pulmonary edema: shortness of breath at rest, immediate descent and evac