Friday, August 18, 2017

Self reliance is a life style, and many other things as well, here are 5 traits I have listed people share.

One of my Grandson's left for Michigan State University yesterday to complete his education which is a music major, he plays the guitar much better than I do. He and I did some mechanical work to his 1995 Mitsubishi pickup after his mom gave it to him in June, it runs great, until. He called from some where in Utah, (Green River valley?), he could not shift, he fixed it with my guidance and his skills, he is now at his aunt's house in Denver. He is becoming "self reliant", learning new skills and gaining abilities that not everyone knows, I began thinking about what being "self reliant" really means, I will attempt to do it justice with this blog.
We all know this guy.
  1)  Taking responsibility for our actions, reap the rewards as well as admitting to others as to what went wrong, and what I could have done to have changed the outcome. We can live and work any where we want, the only people not making mistakes or putting their foot in their mouths are the ones not doing anything. We must expect to make mistakes and to say the wrong things, when we do use real apologies instead of the canned version of "if I happened to have offended someone," if you think you did there is no "if".
  There are plenty of sayings related to taking responsibility, my mom would say two things that stick in my mind "you made the bed now lay in it," I think most of us heard that growing up, and "Blessed is he who helps himself." the basis of being self reliant. Plan your own activities, take credit or blame as fitted for what we have done, check what is your responsibility and repair as needed, I was working in the boat today and noticed an inflatable life vest was inflated, the usual suspects come to mind, one of the three grandson's that have been helping me over the past few weeks. When they all return I will ask for someone to take responsibility, only because it was discharged and tossed on the deck, deflated and unfolded some one is going to fold it up. More important is to accept responsibility for it, it's not a big deal, it is however something to deal with. He is 20 years old, he should have folded it back up and said "hey grandpa I blew up the life vest and I don't know what to do next." I would have laughed and showed him. Now it's got to be a "don't leave anything broken laying around for the next guy to deal with." Talk, that is how we learn.

  2)  Never stop learning if you don't have a high level of curiosity, create it, become curious thereby developing passion, it will contribute to your self care ideas and survival prepping. Curiosity covers the who, what, where, why and when of things, it reaches into scientific analysis or spiritual insight. Curiosity creates a mindset of constant wonder and marvel, I wonder why we don't have alligators in California, where have the birds gone? Curiosity creates learning, it demands a person to learn, gathers interest and creates the desire to become engaged in projects. I met a big man, I mean this guy was big, 6"8" would not be an exaggeration, weighing probably 300 pounds, the only man I have ever met who was bigger was Andrea the Giant, (that's another blog). The big man had in his hand a walking cane, I use two canes, we are both 67 years old and walking impaired. He showed me his cane, it was a unique cane that was bent in a unusual way. I told him "I like this cane, I am going to see if I can make one." Since then I have made three, not perfect, my bending of wood is a challenge due to not knowing how it is done. I researched and I am now making a steam chest from "stuff" I have laying around and some reclaimable materials my neighbors gave to me. I am not completed yet, I will be tomorrow, I made a goal of making a You tube video of the construction of the box, then I will make a video of making a cane. Which lead to my creating a YouTube channel and the planning of 4 other projects I will be video taping. That is how curiosity created learning works. When a child asks a question it is at that time the learning door opens, take advantage of it, go ahead talk about
Learning is a lot of fun, just ask anyone
not this guy though.
Napoleon Bonaparte with them, it won't hurt. One such conversation inspired me to read extensively about him, then my grandson and I had a really good conversation. Ignorance puts us at the mercy of others, read, write, experiment and think.

  3)  Set some goals, I tell people that I am a "uni-tasker", I have never been able to work on more than one project at a time. It's not for everyone, my wife thinks of it as a "disability", she is an insufferable "multi-tasker", her battle cry is "I'm going to get organized!". My battle cry is more of a whimper in comparison "I'm doing this today, that tomorrow and that over there after that, yes I'm a uni-tasker. Set the goals high, a mistake I made when I was young, making goals that were easy to attain. We should set goals one step beyond what we think is attainable for our skills, that will create a learning environment, creating passion to finish the task at hand. A lot of people write their goals down, some (as my wife does) places a photo of the goal somewhere she see's it as one of the first things in the morning. I'm on the other end of the spectrum, I don't write it down, use pictures or any motivation other than commitment to memory. We are each capable of creating goals that we can create passion for, in bird books at the back is a check off list of which birds are sighted, some make that a goal. Think for ourselves, "believe non of what you read and half of what you read," another sing song I heard constantly growing up, think for yourself my parents told me. When questions such as "that can't possibly be so," or "there must be more to the story." The questions scream out "find out what's going on," read all you can about the subject at hand, make that a goal, I will not settle for things to be explained to me, I want to discover for myself. If I fail, I want to fail on my own terms. Tips on goal setting.

  4)  If you live on a homestead, a farm, in the wilderness or a suburban setting being self reliant is a life style. It's a constant learning experience, as well as the routine every day mundane task it takes to make life worth living. Self reliance is about us making decisions and learning tasks and skills that apply to the world as we see it, not everyone raises goats or chickens, a standby hand water well pump is not very common, repairing irreparable items is part of it as well as inventing ways to accomplish new tasks Being self reliant is about being prepared for whatever we may encounter, it means having a family emergency plan, a natural disaster kit available in the home, emergency tools and other emergency preparedness we need to make. It means to me to exhibit compassion to my fellow humans, to be overly prepared for a disaster up to the point of having enough to share with my neighbors who are unprepared.

  5)  Learning of skills, carpentry, farming, and mechanics as well as others, I am not a believer in a complete collapse of society, however I am a believer in a temporary complete collapse. By that I mean the lose of utilities, transportation and a shortage of food, I believe it will happen. Due to many potential causes, civil unrest, depression (again), natural disasters or other incidents that may cause us to stay where we are for extended periods.
  One important skill is to meet your neighbors, it's easier to get to know them now versus in the middle of an event that is unfolding. When we are isolated we will have to depend on each other, it doesn't matter what our opinion of them is now, at some point we will have to band together. First skill, learn to get along with people, it will pay off.
  Each of us possess skills that are indispensable and teachable, the more we know the more effective we will be when a disaster strikes.
Everyone knows how to do something.
  To summarize, self reliance is to have faith in yourself, confidence in the abilities you have, we are honest with ourselves and others, we are trustworthy, we rely on ourselves first try everything first then get help, we make our own decisions, we are able to make decisions and act on them. Self reliance is a personnel journey, it does not set a person apart from others or cause aloofness, it is created from the heart and brain integrated into our lives in a slow steady pace. As a matter of fact many people wonder what the big deal with self reliance is all about, normally exclaiming "what's so new about this stuff, I've always done these things." Most of us are more self dependent than we realize.
  Thank you for reading, there is a lot more to this subject, I hope there is inspiration in this blog for you. Thanks leave a comment or suggestion and share this blog.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Where do coyotes live, what to do when you see a coyote, coyote habitat and pet coyote's there is a lot to them

 We lived in La Quinta California from 1996 until August 1999 I left for work at 4:30 am to beat the
The valley, golf course and mountains in a picture that includes 80% of
the small city of La Quinta California, look at all the coyote habitat that
is available.
heat. I would drive around the block, it is a relatively small town in a valley between high desert mountain ranges and a lot of wild space. I at one time described it as being in the middle of miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. It was a really nice place to live, however being "Northerners" my wife (upstate New York) and me (Bloomington Minnesota), the summer temperatures were more than we were able to handle. On my way to work after rounding the corner of the block we lived on, many mornings I would see 3-6 adult coyotes laying on the front lawn of a house. The same house every day, I don't know why they chose that house, it wasn't the least bit isolated, it is across the street from a PGA golf course. On the far side of the golf course the landscape transits immediately into a drastic slope to the top of a mountain I'm guessing is 3,000 feet high. The coyotes were perfectly at home in the early morning light relaxing and looking around, they were not in the least bit concerned about anything. They were acting like a pet coyote would act, or more like a pet dog, is that a historic coyote habitat in the middle of a busy little town? Where do coyotes live anyway? Is there a standard coyote habitat? What to do if you see a coyote, in many areas of the country it is more like what to do when you see a coyote. (Coyote fact sheet is here.)
  Coyotes are naturally timid animals, most frequently they are seen during the mating season which occurs from January through March, then again in the fall, September through November when the baby's leave the coyote pack. They are often seen as a matter of fact in urban areas, it is not uncommon to see coyotes traveling to and from their favorite hunting grounds through residential areas. Other than protecting pets and children there is no response or action needed when a sighting such as this occurs. Most coyotes see or hear us long before we see them, they will avoid humans at all costs.
Llama's can handle Coyote's with ease, with razor sharp hooves
and a fearless dominating personality, the predators are no
match for these natural watch "dogs". Actually better than
livestock dogs, just more persnickety. 
  There are some actions we can take to "scare" coyotes away, these actions are referred to as "hazing", meant to scare them away while doing no harm to them.
1) Don't run away, it can incite their natural instinct to chase, in this case chase us if we run.
2) Puff yourself up, appear as large as you can, wave your arms, beat on a can or log, shout loudly, stomp your feet.
3) Whistle's, air horns, drums, any way to make loud sharp noise.
4) Toss things at them, sticks, the dogs ball (I don't think they retrieve), anything you can get your hands on, toss it with no intent to injure.
5) Water hose available? Spray them, a spray bottle or squirt gun with a mixture of water and vinegar if they get close.
6) Carry a soft drink can, tin or aluminum, filled with rocks or pennies, and sealed up with tape. Shake it vigorously, it will startle them, they will leave. Read here to find ways to deal with a coyote after encountering one
Hazing works extremely well when the entire community participates and works together. Hazing will last for a long time if all food that attracts them is controlled, pet food, open garbage cans and even bar-b-ques will attract them. If the coyotes are feeding nearby, or if hazing does not scare them away, notify the police and the local wild life control divisions of the local government.
  Pets and small children must be protected from the threat of coyote attacks, never leave them unattended, cats and dogs should always be on leashes, most of the time when coyotes attacks dogs they are off leash. On a walk carry the can with pebbles in it, a whistle, or other type of noisemaker like an air horn, pepper spray and the vinegar/water squirt bottle work well on a walk. If possible continue to make loud noises if the animal does not retreat, walk backwards (do not turn your back on them) into your home or other protected area. If possible pick up and carry the child or pet, keep control of them. If a bite is sustained, suspect rabies and get immediate medical attention.
  Where do coyotes live? The coyote is native to North America, smaller than it's cousin the gray wolf, in fact the smallest of all of it's relatives the eastern and red wolf. The range of the coyote is complete saturation of North and Central America, sighted as far south as eastern Panama for the first time in 2013, Alaska is their furthest known northern range limit. The coyote is very adaptable and is able to adapt to any environment they find themselves in. There have been 19 coyote sub species identified, there are most likely more. The average male weight is 20-45 pounds 15-40 pounds is typical of females, fairly small animals, in the desert they appear small and scraggly. They live in small family units or in larger coyote packs of unrelated adults and coyote pups.
Coyote pups and an adult, they will leave the family and coyote
pack when they are about 6 month's old.
  The coyote has natural enemy's, humans being at the top of the list, then followed by cougars and gray wolves. A curious part of the coyotes existence is that they will mate with sometimes with gray, red or eastern wolves, seems a little Romeo and Juliet situation going on at times. The coyote howls, the pack of coyote's living across the river from us will raise a stink during fall and winter nights, it's a haunting sound. All of the animals take notice, pet dogs and cats as well as the peahens and peacocks across the road in the ranch. Another interesting fact is most wolves contain at least some level of coyote DNA, it makes the mind spin a bit. But where do coyotes live? Coyotes originally inhabited open spaces and the central plains when the US was first being occupied by the first Europeans. Their habitat is chosen dependent on food and water availability, suitable den locations for raising young is very important, as well as how many of their enemies are around competing for food. The coyote is not territorial outside of the mating season, and is much less aggressive than towards intruders than a wolf typically is. Coyotes will chase intruders off, scaring them and sparring, rarely results in terminal injury. Fights and problems increase during times of scarcity of food and water. The coyote habitat is much like the wolves, they use a den usually a hole in that has been abandoned by other animals. They use the den during gestation and while raising the coyote pups. The dens are typically located in valleys, canyons, coulees, in banks, bluffs and any abandoned buildings, tanks and vehicles. I worked at a place in the California desert where we found the remains of a coyote in a processing fan that had been left open for many years, abandoned manufacturing plants make a great habitat. They take good care of the coyote pups, if a flea infestation takes place the adults move the pups, the dens are continuously being maintained by the adults. They clean the den, dig it deeper, as well as adding more ways to enter and leave, they also add more rooms, the den is usually used for many years.
  Coyotes hunt in packs leaving the pups out of the hunt, success in taking down large prey depends mostly on the terrain and such situations as snow, ice and mud which challenges even the most fit adult. They hunt mice, squirrels, birds mostly caugt alone, the pack of coyotes only hunting together to take down large game. They are natural enimie's of porcupines, one of their rare preditors, only the experienced older animals attempt taking a porcupine. They will lay claim to their prey by urinating on it. Interesting the coyote will sometimes team up with the American Badger, helping each other dig up rodents and other prey. Coyotes and Badgers have been observed laying their heads on the badgers and licking their faces with no protest from the smaller animal. I can't get over how adaptable these animals are.
  The coyote carries (most likely) the largest number of illnesses, diseases and parasites due to it's large wild range and the extreme variety of food they consume. The viral diseases known to infect them are not limited to rabies, distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, equine endephalitis as well as oral papillomatosis (a white mass in the mouth covering the tongue and mucous membranes that resemble cauliflower. Read about their diseases here.
  They don't typically attack humans, during the period from 1976 to 2006 160 attacks on humans occurred, mostly interestingly enough in Los Angeles county. Two fatalities occurred, one in Glendale California and the second in Nova Scotia Canada. The majority of attacks took place in Southern California near the wild space and human inhabited suburbs.
  What about coyote attacks on dogs? I will take a long answer, coyotes are currently the number one most populist predator of livestock, they are responsible for the majority of sheep goat and cattle losses. In 2004 for example the National Agricultural Statistics service discovered coyotes were responsible for 60.5% of the 224,00 sheep deaths that occurred during that year. (Thanks to Wikipedia for that information). 90,000 coyotes are killed each year to protect livestock in the
Fine livestock protective dog, these dogs are fearless, I've
been bitten by two dogs, a wiener dog (Charlie) and
a dog just like this one, he was huge.
Western United States. Do coyotes attack dogs? If they are small enough not to present a danger to them they will, but normally will not take on a large dog. Livestock dogs trained to protect livestock from these predators work will in open ranges and contained pastures, they are recognized as an economic asset. In exceptional cases coyotes have been known to attack even big strong breeds such as rottweiler's, only in very exceptional case, typically larger dogs such as greyhounds are able to chase the smaller predators off and have been known in extreme cases to have killed coyotes. Smaller breeds do not fare as well, we must keep control of our smaller pets.
Learn about the relationship between Native Americans and the American Coyote.
  On our island due to the abundant rain we received last winter we had an explosion of baby rabbits. A mid stream island (small) was flooded, it was a rabbit paradise. All of those rabbits, some wild breeds and some domestic that were "set free", now all of them are one huge mixed population. We have a lot of rabbits now, the second generation from the baby's born during the spring are now having offspring of their own. With lots of greenery and an abundance of habitat for them to gain safety in. Every dog on the island are now tuned into the bunny's, they can not catch these guy's, coyotes can. We are now expecting a influx of coyotes until the rabbit population is reduced, then the larger predators will again leave. A friend was telling me about a fishing trip he was on in his boat,  he fishes every day), he was in a remote part of the river system when he saw a coyote swimming
Here he is, swimming, they do swim underwater as well. 
from one island to ours. As he approached the animal, it dove under water and swam to shore 30 feet away and re-surfaced at the shore line, running up the bank and into the hinterlands. They are extremely versatile animals, however they don't do well as pet coyotes. When they are pups training is easy, they interact well with people, the Native Americans of the Great Plains were known to domesticate them, they are playful and relate well to humans they are accustomed to, they do not trust strangers, there have been cases of coyotes having been trained to "point" and retrieve. As for me, coyotes are to me a very admirable animal, along with Raccoons and Crows being my favorite wild animals. That's the point, they are better left wild, it's like we have them as pets with the exception of not having any interaction with them other than observing. I personally think that is best for us and them.
  Thanks for reading, leave a comment or suggestion and share the blog with everyone. Thanks again.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The boy and the rattlesnake, this is what to do if you see a rattlesnake, no on second thought don't do this

I was told a story a long time ago, I don't remember where I heard it or if someone told me the story of "The Native American Boy and the Rattlesnake." I awoke this morning thinking about some of the issues that we as a country are facing and this story came across my mind. As it was told to me, maybe you have heard this story as well it has been around for ever.
The first nights campfire, it was still warm at that time.
  The little boy was 12 years old, at 13 years he would become and adult, full grown man, first they were often told that they had to survive in the wilderness alone for a length of time, sometimes days and sometimes years. This particular boy was told to live on his wilderness survival skills for 3 days, not a long time, but it was not known how the elders chose the length of time a young boy needed to prove he could live on his wilderness survival skills. (A link explaining the Sioux ceremony.) He was told to hike to the top of a particular mountain in clear view of the where the village was at this point in time, in a beautiful valley bathed in the light of the early spring. The snow has melted, a little early, but it provided abundant water and the wildlife was exploding in life, it was a wonderful spring. The promise of a fruitful summer was clearly on the horizon. The boy put together his survival kit, an over the shoulder leather pouch large enough to carry all of his needed supplies, tools, food, water and warm clothing, the winter may return. He had his bow and quiver of arrows, the working knife his grandfather helped him make and the beads around his neck his grandmother gave him for luck. There was much pride amongst his family as he sprinted down the footpath into the trees and began up the steep slope that would continue for many miles. It would take the boy one full day from morning until the sun went down plus until noon the next to complete the journey to the top of the highest mountain in view. He would trot ten steps and walk ten steps, he and his father would travel in that manner when they were in the woods traveling. He went up and down hills and canyons, over rocks and creeks stopping only to eat and drink water, he was in a hurry to get to his destination.

That's where he was heading, the one on the left.
Noon on the second day he arrived at what would become his temporary camp, it was on top of the mountain as high as he could go, the place where the tops of majestic trees were blown away by lightning and the sign of heavy rain and snow were etched on the rocks and dirt canyon walls. He constructed a small lean too shelter and arraigned all of his belongings inside, his small amount of food was hung from a tree branch high enough to deter animals from enjoying a free meal. (How to build a shelter.) He then got down to business, for the next three days he was in a state of meditation, and memory of what he was taught to survive the wilderness alone. For he was truly alone, there was predicatively no one else any where close to where he was at the moment or will be until he has returned to the village. The last day arrived, time always goes faster than what any of us have ever imagined, it was time to pack up. He opened his eyes to a layer of snow on the ground 6 inches deep, his fire was smoldering almost out, the first task he took on was to gather a few pieces of fire wood. He returned to the fire with the wood, he bent down to begin to add it to the fire when he saw a snake curled up close to the warm earth. It was a rattlesnake, now he knew what to do if you see a rattlesnake in normal conditions, he thought this one was dead, until he heard a weak voice "help me, please." The boy looked around, no one was around, again he heard "help me please." The sound was coming from the rattlesnake, "I am dying, and surely will if you do not save me." The snake said, "I will freeze to death in this snow."
I am so different than those other guy's, believe me.
  "But you are a rattlesnake and I am afraid that by the size of your rattlesnake rattle you are big and powerful, your bite will surely kill me." The boy replied.
  "I am an honorable snake," the rattler replied adding "I promise if you place me under the big warm coat you are wearing and take me to the meadow below, I will not harm you." the serpent replied in a soft sing song voice, "I promise." he added. (treat snake bites.)
  The boy picked the snake up and placed him around his waist under his warm furry coat for the trip back down the mountain to where it was warm and the boy's village was. The boy would talk to the snake under his coat, the only reply he would recieve would be from the snake "I cannot hear you under this nice warm coat, perhaps we should not talk."
  The boy was OK with silence, after all what is there to say to a snake? They arrived at a spot to spend the night and the boy started a roaring fire, mainly to get the snake out from under his clothing so he could lay down and sleep, there was still snow on the ground and more on the way. The next morning the boy awoke and wrapped the large snake around his waist once again for the final leg of their trip. He would have liked to return to the village with the story of making friends with the rattler but the snake was not friendly at all. After hiking for several hours he was within a mile of the village, the sun was shining and the temperature was warm, just right to finally be rid of his companion.
  "I will let you on the ground right here, by this log and rock where you can find safety by going under them and you can warm in the sun." the boy said. He uncurled the snake from his waist, he was big and heavy, it would be good not to have to carry him any longer. The boy gently set the snake on the warm soil when he heard the rattlesnake rattle, lightning fast he was bitten by the underhanded con man, struck on the shin.
  "You said you would not bite me when we got here and I let you free." the boy said "you lied to me, you are dishonest." (Honesty explained here.)
  "You knew what I was when you picked me up," was the snakes reply "You assumed I was different than what you learned in your survival lessons, you were wrong."
They are OK when left alone, do not trust them. 
A lesson for today, not only for surviving in the wildness however surviving in the urban jungle as well. I have thought of this story many times over the past years, it has saved me from making some bad mistakes with people especially, animals sometimes. It is a good survival story, a really good lesson as well as food for thought. You knew what I was when you picked me up, it's like picking up a salt shaker in a restaurant before shaking it on my food I check to make sure the lids on tight, how many people do that? A lot I think, we've been conditioned by generations of pranksters. Left turn signal on and turn right? I have never though that was intentional, but it does happen and we are on guard for it. I know when I jump in the river there are sea lions, crabs, fish and other wild life swimming around in there as well, we accept the that as fact. You knew what I was when you picked me up, yes I did. (Truthfulness here.)
  The story in any version ends there, we don't find out if the boy lived, if he killed the snake (short sighted wouldn't you say?) we don't have an ending. After all why would a rational being commit a horrendous act like a rattlesnake bite with a clear chance of being killed immediately after that? A threat to do harm and know your own demise will be immediate, it does not make sense to me. So why did the boy help the snake? Human compassion, plain and simple, a bigger question is why did the snake bite him?
  Thanks for reading and yes this is a political parody, I do not comment, blog or discuss politics or religion, I don't do well with either. Leave a comment, tell me what you think or leave a suggestion or recall an encounter you've had.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

San Francisco earthquake emergency plan, what do I need if I'm caught in the City during a shaker? 2 things mainly

It can happen again in the flash of a second.

One of my grandson's and I were having a conversation yesterday about emergency preparedness, what  emergency food, water and equipment to have on hand in the case of a nuclear bomb dropping on us. Our conversation took a different direction, it started when I asked him "if you were in San Francisco walking around Fisherman's wharf, and the "Big One" struck what would you do?" He is 20 years old, he will be 21 in November, I remember when I was 21. I was not worried about too much especially an earthquake in California. Apparently he is not very interested in it either, his answer was simply "I'd get out of town." I told him that at least 1 million other people would have the same idea, they would all be heading for one of three ways out, 1) The Bay Bridge. 2) The Golden Gate Bridge. 3) Highway 101 through South San Francisco, all a parking lot during a normal work week, it would become a petrified forest in an emergency evacuation. There is a fourth way out, I don't know for sure if the ferry's would be running so I did not include them. It's my belief that with many people hitting the roads to evacuated the first 10,000 vehicles may make it out before breakdowns, accidents and road rage all take effect. The highways
Here's one way out of town, there is two others across town.
may be unusable, I wonder where everyone would be going anyway, somewhere else is all I can figure. My grandson said he would walk out over the Bay Bridge, I asked him where to Oakland? I then told him that may very well be the only way out, however he would have to walk to my house 50 miles NE of San Francisco. We live on the Great California Delta, the river system that feeds San Francisco Bay and waters all of Southern California. On occasion my grand kids will take the Bart to the City for the day when they are visiting us, they are all 18 years old plus when they go. I told my grandson before he starts his 50 mile hike home there are two things he should make sure is covered first.
 1) Call our contact number, we have put together an earthquake emergency plan as recommended by survival experts and FEMA. In the plan we included an earthquake evacuation plan as well, each member of the family (and those staying with us) has a copy of the plan with instructions on what actions to take if they are either at home or away. It is prudent to make sure in your preparedness plan to include a "contact number", this is a friend or relative to contact and leave a "I'm OK in Madera" message. The contact number must be someone out of the area, the local lines will most likely be all jammed up, long distance will be open. When people call a telephone number a normal human reaction to a "busy" line is to hang up and immediate call again. During a disaster event this adds to the congestion of the lines, and is many times the reason no one is able to call anyone, but we keep trying. Call out of area, leave a message to pass on, then call again in about 4 hours, tell your contact when you will be calling back. This person will pass messages to other family members and co-ordinate activities as he/she is able to help out.

Water, the most important commodity during an emergency.
2) Immediately after the quake strikes go to a store and get at least two gallons of water, I suggest two gallons because in a 50 mile walk at 3 miles an hour with breaks and rest stops will take 20 hours to complete. We need to drink 1/2 gallon of water daily to survive, without it we will live maybe 5 days, we can live 3 weeks without food. 3 days is normally the expected survival length of time with no water, some people have lived for as long as 8-10 days however this is not the norm. A gallon of water weighs about 9 pounds, the good part of that is the more that we drink the lighter the load becomes. I also told him the further from the city he gets the scarcer water and food supplies would become due to the time elapsed between the strike and where he is now. He would meet people with no water on the hike, that's the reason for having twice the amount he may need, however if the ambient is above 80 F, he will drink a gallon a day. If he is able I suggested to him to also purchase granola or granola bars, a 20 hour hike takes a lot of energy and it will have to be reclaimed during the hike. I told him he will most likely spend the night in the wild, that is the wild surburban area which is emense in this area,
  When visiting the city for a day or attending one of the many festivities occurring there every week the possibility of a major earthquake is always present. I have seen the San Andreas fault in San Francisco down into and past Palm Springs and as far South as Puerto Vallarta long, power full and active. That's only one fault, there are many others running in every direction. So when visiting the city for a day are there any precautions we should take? Yes there is we should have on our person two one pint containers of water at least, two one quart (liter) containers of water would be even better. Take a couple of granola bars from the home pantry, put them in your pockets, fanny pack or back pack and forget about them, only break them out when you need them. I wonder if a person should have his/her fema preparedness kit on their person as well.
  An earthquake in our area can occur at a moment's notice, there is never a reliable warning or heads up. Monitoring is taking place, we hear reports on earthquake predicting quite often, mostly that science is getting "closer" to better understand them. In the event we have a major quake, say 9-10 on the Richter scale, buildings will collapse, bridges fall in and many structure fires will occur. I told my grandson on his way out of Dodge he may very well be recruited to help with emergency efforts, something else to report to the contact number.
You may be recruited to help, the young ones are extremely helpful in these
  I'm not sure how prudent it would be to take our earthquake emergency kit into the city for the day with us. It may make sense to take it along on the trip if the person is driving to fisherman's wharf or the Giants game for example. An earthquake emergency preparedness kit when loaded with jackets and extra clothing can become heavy and awkward to carry when sight seeing. Unless a kit is in a trunk or some sort of a handy wheeled carrier, the emergency preparedness kit should be left in the at home, instead put together a smaller one. Call it the "escape kit", water, flashlight, a jacket and hat, along with something to eat, it can fit in a small messenger bag making it easy to attend to. The "escape kit" can be used at home as well, sometimes for example such as a wild fire a person has minimal time to escape, then has to walk several or many miles to get to a muster or relief station, a light kit will make the walk easier.
  The chances of suffering an earthquake during a brief visit to any city would be considered a rare occurrence, it does happen however. Does it happen often enough for us to be overly concerned about it? No not overly, but a healthy concern is warranted and to have a small escape kit on your belt may be prudent. Water is an absolute, above and beyond all else we must have water.

Make sure everyone has input when making your earthquake
emergency preparedness kit  as well as your
earthquake emergency plans.
I don't expect any of my grand kids to be stranded in the city after an earthquake, but it's like when I was taught CPR at a place of employment. A large portion of the crew was in attendance, the office manager, a lady, was in attendance and contrary to most of the attendees had never learned CPR before this time, she was in her late 40's. That evening she had a tennis lesson during which a person at another court collapsed and stopped breathing, she administered CPR and mouth to mouth saving the person's life within 4 hours of taking the class. That sort of occurrence is quite common, I can think of at least 3 other incidences of  learning something then within hours having to use it. So these conversations are important to have, especially when centered around your earthquake emergency plan, and your earthquake evacuation plan which should be a separate plan attached to your main emergency plan. Both plans should have spelled out what actions to take in the event they are either home alone or out and about (as our example of being in San Francisco.) Make sure all members of the family know the plan and understands it perfectly, the preferred way is to make sure all family members have input into both plans. Practice the plans, go over them verbally and physically, where are the  evacuation kits, who takes what, who's responsible for the dog or grandma? All of it is important, as well as spelling out what to do if an earthquake strands you in a big city.
  Thanks for reading please leave a comment or suggestion, I enjoy hearing from you all.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Measuring squareness, use square math? Learn the 3 methods here, it's another self reliance skill to own

  Two of my grandson's have been here helping me out for the past few weeks, I'd like to say I can keep up with them, I can't. They are working on my old boat for the past few days, I painted it a few years ago and it's due for another coat, they have been chipping, sanding and cleaning for 3 partial days, it's looking good. I have 10, ranges in age from 8 to 21, they grow fast. When they are with me, most of them come during their various days off of school, the ones that don't work or go to school just come and go. I like to work with them on projects and I believe they like to work with me as well, I teach them lot's of stuff. They have helped me build a new front "stoop" from wood, Raised bed garden boxes
The grandson's can accomplish anything I swear.
were built by one of them as was my big composting worm farm in the yard. We repair things and build things, they learn to use a table saw, miter saw, routers and all sorts of hand tools. I have taught them to read measuring tapes and rulers, how to mix and use epoxy glue and to their disapproval how to weed. Which brings me to the subject of this blog, squareness, how to check assemblies for being square. There are a lot of different ways to check square, I will cover three: 1) 3-4-5 method of squaring, 2) Cross squaring 3) squaring with a square, all effective all very good to know time saving methods.
   1) 3-4-5 square method, "squaring up" an assembly is essential for the objects strength and appearance. It is most important in multi-story buildings, the sky rises that I worked on (I spent 20 years as a structural steel iron-worker, we built Diablo Canyon Nuclear facility, and the Moscone center in San Francisco). On all of the structures the engineer's dictated a tolerance of 1/4" +/-, that's actually a lot. In the event a vertical column of 20 feet used the 1/4" tolerance on each foot the top would be off 5", it doesn't take much for a vertical column after 5 stories high to be off a foot or more. Squaring assembly's is absolutely needed to be completed on each and every assembly prior to erection.
Routine when once you begin to use the 3-4-5 method of squaring. 
3-4-5 method, used on an assembly with at least two legs, it works on forms with an open side or end as well as with one vertical member and one horizontal member. Squaring is done prior to final welding or nailing depending on the structure, all the parts are cut to size and either tacked together or held together with one fastener on each corner. The part is laid out on a table or "saw horses", larger ones laid out and assembled on the floor or deck. When the assembly is temporarily tacked together and appears to be square this is the time to check it. Choose one corner of the frame, I normally start on one end the right hand corner. With a small square strike a line 1 inch from the edge of the part, then mark the center of of that line and draw a circle around it. From that mark measure down the left leg 3 feet, mark it, draw a line with a square across the part and mark the center line, circle it. Go back to the original point and measure 4 feet down the right hand part, again draw a line across and mark the center line, circle it. Now grab your assistant (in my case assistant's) have one stand at the 3 foot mark and the other (or we can do it ourselves) person by the 4 foot mark. One person sets the measuring tape zero mark on the circled center point, Now measure the point between the 3 foot and 4 foot mark, if your assembly is square it will read 5 feet. If it reads any other measure the frame must be adjusted, it will take two or three moves to figure out which way and how much to move which leg. The final task is to install 4 more fasteners in each corner or if welding heavy tacks prior to final assembly. When it is assembled, re-check the 3-4-5 square, if it measures correctly you're golden. Squareness can be checked as well with the following method of measuring squareness.
Cross squaring, not always this distance, but it is very common.
  2) Cross Squaring, after assembling a large component and it is laying flat on saw horses or the floor, measuring squareness needs to be accomplished. For example if you have just assembled a 40 foot x 20 foot form and you are ready to pour concrete, get your partner and grab a 100 foot measuring tape. With a small square mark each corner, measure from the end 1" ("burning an inch") then mark each at the center. With one person on one end and another on the far end measure from the right hand mark on one end to the left hand mark of the far end, write the number down. Then proceed to the other sides and measure in the same manner, they should be fairly close, many lunch bets have been lost from over confidence. If the measurements match you are finished, complete the final assembly and measure once again. If they do not match the assembly must be squared, pushing, shoving, prying and use of motorized equipment are several ways to move a heavy object. Generally if the measurements are within +/- 1/4" it is a good measurement and can be completed. After the unit is completed and squared, the last method of measuring squareness may be used in the corners as a last check. Need a freshening up on a measure tape, check this link out here.
  3) Square Math, measuring squareness with a two foot square, one of the most versatile tools in your tool kit, carpenters and iron-workers normally keep two by their side. The "two foot square" is 1 1/2 foot on one leg and 2 foot on the other, it can be used for squaring assemblies, setting angles in degrees, laying out steps for stairways, as well as use a a straight edge. To check the squareness of the square (yes it must be done), begin by placing the square's 1-1/2 foot leg (lay it to the left) even with the edge of a piece of plywood or steel at least 2 feet wide, the flat squaring piece should be a minimum of 1-1/2 foot x 2 foot. Push the 1-1/2 foot inner edge against the outer edge of the plywood and strike a line down the 2 foot edge. Flip the square over so the 1-1/2 foot leg is now laying to your right and the inside at the 90 is even with the line you struck and strike another line. If they line up you are fine, if not the square must be squared by peening the inside or outside, inside if the square is open, outside if the square is closed. To check the square of an assembly simply go to each corner and place the outside of the square in the inside of the assembly, after the 3-4-5 method and cross squaring it will be square.  Learn more about the 2 foot square here.
A few functions of the 2 foot square, or commonly called "framing
  It's also recommended that if a person is using more than one measuring tape, or is working with more than themselves, all measuring tapes should be the same brand. The tapes need to be compared to be certain that all of the inch, fraction and foot marks match, they can be off a considerable amount depending on how many different brands there are.
  I think this is a very boring subject, however it is one that some people just are not familiar with the many methods to square concrete forms, or ascertaining square footage. I use them all the time when we are building things the foundation for my shed, the deck or building a trailer. One of the three handiest tools the other two are a good tape measure and the use of PI (3.14) it's geometry Watson.
  I hope this blog has enlightened you a bit, maybe you knew two methods, or one, or all three regardless it's essential to "stay square" to ensure a professional looking assembly. Structures gain a lot of strength when they are held vertical, gravity is in this case our friend and ally when everything is square but is a destructive force when it is out of square. (I'm kind of thinking of the Millennium building in San Francisco, leaning over slowly). In our desire to be as "self reliant as we can possibly be", in the event we must build a temporary structure or any thing vertical, if it is square it will have a better chance of staying vertical.
  Thanks for reading, leave a comment or suggestion. What are you building?


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chimps, Bees, Alligators, Buffalo and Wolves, which mating rituals end in death I know you'll be surprised

Why do some wild animals fighting each other result in death and other animal mating fights do not?
When animals of the same species fight each other which they normally do during the mating
This is more common than we would like to believe, inadvertently
causing harm, death in some cases. 
season it most of the time is in the form of ritual or threatening actions. Puffing and beating on the chest, making loud noises, tossing things around and charging towards the opponent are common. As is the case with antlered animals it is more of a case of "antler rattling", common reproductive behavior in
animals is to do little harm in some cases not so much. Size, if one is bigger than the other then the smaller animal realizes he could be seriously injured so many times they will concede. However the bigger opponent realizes that no matter the size of the challenger serious injury is possible, a larger animal will not back down exerting just enough strength to encourage the smaller animal to retreat. In this case chest beating, howling and stomping may be enough to encourage a concession. Which animals will and won't fight to the death? Here are 5 that may or may not surprise you.
  Chimpanzee's, we all like to watch monkey's, after all we have a number of similar body parts, and we are proportioned almost the same. The old saying "the same but different." comes into play here. January of this year a chimpanzee was murdered, by his own followers, badly beaten and partially cannibalized. It happened in Sengeal, the group has been under observation since 2005, the leader Foudouko was the alpha male. He fell from power in 2007 and lived on the outer boundaries of the colony, then suddenly returned in 2013, and was killed by his followers. The paper suggested that due to the population having considerably more males than females, the older chimp may have been killed while trying to mate with a female, the younger ones didn't like that apparently. This was a very brutal murder, the only one the researchers observed in the time the troop was under
Yep these little gentle creatures, extremely strong and extremely
possessive, it's not a very good combination
observation, it does happen, how often is unknown, Animal murders are extremely rare in the wild.
  One of the largest species of Bee's, the Dawson's bees kill each other in mass during the quest to mate with females. They enter an intense battle scene, it reminds me of the description we hear of the grand armies during the day's of the huge roaming hoards of conquerors. By the time the fighting is over every single Dawson's Bee male is either killed or dead by another means. Some females do get killed as well, not nearly as many as females however. Dawson Bee's reside in the Australian out back, burrowing deep beneath the sun baked earth, the males emerge from the tunnels prior to the females. The males wait for the females to emerge then, 90% of the females are inseminated before the grand finale. The cause? The smell of the females enrages the males then the fighting begins and ends. Females 30,000 males 0, the beat goes on.
  Wolves leave their home packs when they mature, there is room for three male Wolfe's in a pack, each one has an important role in that society. The Alpha is the leader and does all of the mating with the largest female, the Alpha is not always the largest, but he is always the toughest. Beta's are the second in command, quite often challenging the Alpha for mating rights. The Omega is the pack's scapegoat, dominated by the Alpha and not allowed to breed and is kept from feeding until the entire pack has had their fill. The wolf mating ritual is rather civilized, as with humans the new male is introduced to the Alpha male by his daughter, after all he is the father of everyone in the pack, if the
More civil than humans? It sure looks like it. In 1985 a friend
and I saw a timber wolf in the Sierra Nevada's, yep in
California, they are listed as non-existent in this state, they
Alpha takes exception to him he may run the young wolf off. When the stray wolf first finds a female, sometimes after a year or more of wandering, they stand shoulder to shoulder, fur up on end, tails straight out and wagging, the ears perked up at attention, The young female and male then begin to sniff each other, just like domestic canines do, they then begin to romp around playing. With the greeting out of the way courtship begins, that is the point the female takes the male to meet the Alpha. They never have been known to hurt each other critically, wolves number among the animals that do no harm to each other during mating rituals. Wolves 10 Civilized reasoning 10, It's a tie! I knew wolves were OK, they sure are a lot more civil than the chimps.
  The Great American Bison, hunted by the North American Wolf, the herds in the past numbered in the millions, some times stretching over several states in the prairie during their migration. The Native Americans called the buffalo mating season the "running season", during this time the herd becomes a complete mess of agitation, excitement and energetic activities. The rut is on, with the bulls spending most of their time chasing females, the other half of the time they spend fighting each other, however the challenges and answering (fighting), after the initial head butting and colliding the main event last a few seconds. The bull lowers his head, kicks at the dirt raising a huge cloud,
Beautiful majestic animal, our American Icon. I had a Labrador
retriever at Lake Itasca, Mississippi headwaters, that was launched
it looked like 40 feet into the air due to his badgering a big bull.
bellows loudly enough to be heard several miles away, glaring all the while with half white eyes, at times the bulls all join together to bellow loudly which sounds like distant thunder heard miles away. The battles between the bulls at this time are very impressive and always harmless, everyone walks away, or in the case of those on the losing end merely sloughs away at a run. Another breed that does no harm during mating rituals, buffalo 10 civilized society 10 another tie.
  Alligators, I am not fearful of a lot things, cautious yes, fearful not so much. When it comes to Alligators and Crocodiles not only do I not know much about them, they scare me to death even from the TV. Salt Water Crocs are the stuff that nightmares are made of, even stepping foot on the Australian continent would put me on guard. I'm not a fan of modern day dinosaurs, today I don't have to kiss or pet one, I'm merely in investigating in whether or not their mating rituals are fatal. I've always said if re-incarnation is fact I want to come back as an alligator and be among the 99% that don't make it to the water right out of the egg. The mating season is from the middle of April Until June 31st, This is the time period most calls for nuisance alligators are made, and upon capture re-introduced in another location away from civilization. They are commonly around 10 feet long at most, some grow to 12 feet it's rare, fewer still make it over that length, they are considered full grown at 7 feet. It takes 8-12 years to grow to their maximum lengths. 1/3 of their nest are destroyed by predators 32-46 eggs is normal, hatching in 65-68 days. Alligators stop feeding when the ambient temperature is below 70F and goes into hibernation at below 55F.
I'm pretty sure this is a big one, he can go ahead and keep
the ball, and the cart, and the clubs oh heck, I'm leaving.
Alligators have a unique mating ritual, which is a tourist attraction in Florida. The males are show off's, advertising their availability and complete dedication to mating these guy's are pretty impressive. They begin by finding an eligible female, they then slap their head on the water surface, bellowing, jaw snapping and vibrating their torsos making the water around them come alive in ripples. The deep bellowing is heard throughout the alligators realm, the females join them with a bellow that sounds more like a low decibel growl than a feminine answer of any sort. Another ritual the male participates in is an elevation of the body above the water line, they do this to appear larger than life, sometimes being in this pose for half an hour, it's all about showing off the massive head. The loud bellow and head slapping are a social communication habit of the adult alligators, once it begins the entire community often joins in with head slapping, bellowing it being as if they created a 'gator chorus. It is not unusual to see the male surrounded by 3-4 females during courtship, other species swim away unimpressed. They then mate, that's it, no fighting, no biting or scratching or eating of the opponent. They take the grand prize for being civil, so far the two most violent animals I have studied are the most civilized, ain't that amazing.
  Thanks for reading, easily relative to our quest to be as self reliant as we can possibly be, "When we study the animals, we learn more about ourselves."
Leave a comment, if you have knowledge of Alligators or Crocodiles tell me stuff I don't know about them, which is a lot. Thanks



Monday, August 7, 2017

The summer life of the American Wild Turkey, what's up with the male wild turkey's?

  I spend a considerable amount of time out doors, during that time I normally have my bird books and binoculars around my neck. It's amazing to me how I can sit on my river side porch, sometimes with my Ukulele, banjo or guitar. Just like seen on TV, an old guy making bad music on a beautiful day. I watch the birds, a lot, starlings, hawks, turkey vultures and the great american wild turkey. Benjamin Franklin suggested the eastern wild turkey be the symbol of the new United States government, obviously he was over ruled, the Bald Eagle was chosen in it's stead.
They are majestic birds occupying the same spot in the bird
kingdom as the Peacock. The pale color head tells us he is
at the peak of breeding season, it takes the color right out of
him I guess. 
I have made an observation this year, there appears to be less birds this year (2017) than normal. I see no Mud Hens (the American Coot), normally there are several thousand on the slough acting like an organized miniature army. Red Wing Blackbirds were eradicated by the West Nile virus and appear to be making a slow come back. The Red Tail Hawks, I have in years past seen two active breeding pairs, they are still around somewhere. Two summers ago one pair roosted in a 50 foot tall "snag", about 20 feet from their nest in another tree, they have bred there for about 3 years. The snag had to go, it was cut down because it was an actual hazard, out buildings were close and the road is within 30 feet of it, if it fell it would take the power line down and block the road. The rancher cut it down, I agreed with him, the Hawks did not they relocated to a big steel 15kv power structure about 1/3 mile away. They had their brood last summer and did not return this year, they are in the wild somewhere. We have Peahen's and Peacock's running around here as well, they compete with the wild turkeys in our small island, Peacock's are noisy as all get out, day and night and are thriving, most likely due to being semi-domesticated.
Similar in size and feeding habits, they are very much alike, the
Peacock is a native of India the Turkey of North America.
Even the shore birds are in smaller numbers, we are 40 miles from the ocean we do see sea lions as well as the birds, however this year few birds and no sea lions. My attention has been on the wild turkey's that numbered in the 30-50 range last winter during the rains. (the flock that frequents this part of the island) This year I saw zero until 3 days ago, I then saw a female with 4 wild turkey chicks directly behind her, they appear to have hatched around the end of March. (My observation) I'm sure there are many more in the wooded areas. The question I have is "What causes the flock to disappear during the summer?" If you're interested click here for more information on the summer turkey.
  There are times we see the male wild turkey's out strutting their stuff in the middle of June, sometimes even until the first day of July. They will gobble as they are still seeking females to fill out their brood, as spring comes to a close and summer begins it's full swing, there are less females available. Still the males have the biological urge to mate, as do some females, when the wild turkey chicks hatch in August, the normal cycle for those females of that brood will begin in June. That's understandable, but, what about the males that gobble during July and August? Just like people, some male wild turkey's are just out right noisy and may just like the sound of their own voice. Some people like to call turkey's for various reasons, I do it to prove to them I'm smarter than they are, others are photographers or hunters and some are like the turkey's they like to hear themselves call out. Maybe like boy scouts on a camp out with the "wolf howls" until midnight.
I don't think he's calling Turkey's, like most youngster's he's just howling.
It's not good to call them, the american wild turkey is not as dumb as we would like to believe, (hence my comment about being smarter than they are), they learn to equate the "false" gobbles with "crying wolf" and will ignore them just when they are needed. They don't really "disappear during the early summer month's, especially following a winter of heavy rains, there is a lot of water which turns into lot's of food in the isolated areas. The wild turkey's have a limited range of about one square mile, they will share their habitat with other turkey's, but the curious thing is the male wild turkey acts as if it is all alone, they ignore the other's, as long as their breeding brood is complete. The male wild turkey does not participate in the rearing or overseeing of the wild turkey chicks. When we see a flock of turkey's at a feeding spot during the summer, the females and the chicks are there intentionally, the male is there as a coincidence, when it happens the males act like no one else exist. They are different birds during the summer than they are during the fall and winter. They don't fight during the summer it's a waste of energy better spent during mating season, besides they can be seriously injured. As with all wild animals fighting is avoided at all costs, running away during the off season is the strategy they employ. However when challenged the male turkey will not back down or even step back, he has to maintain his pecking order for intimidation reasons year around. So during the summer they (a practice I have not witnessed) gobble, strut and do a little intimidating but little else. Click here for an interesting paper on why some species of animals do not cause injury to each other.
A few ways to call turkey's, I'm not sure the wolf pup would be
helped out by any of them, there is a technique to their use.
  So what is up with the wild male turkey? Nothing is up with them, they are being their normal selves, I believe for some reason this year I am on a higher level of awareness or something. The all american wild turkey is safe and sound on the island as I suspect they are everywhere else as well. I have never seen a wild turkey road kill, ever, they are always in the road, but even on busy roads I've never seen one dead on the road side. That may be a better title for this blog "why don't wild turkey's get hit by cars?" My answer with a shrug of the shoulders and a I don't know why that is, my wife Kate is more logical than I, she say's "cars stop for turkey's." You know what, she's right, everyone stops for the turkey's, is that what you've seen?
  Nothing is happening with the turkey's, self propagated problem is solved, now I can move on to subjects such as "what is that crazy squirrel doing with all of my apples?" Thanks for reading comment about the turkey's around your place, they are fun to watch and talk about. Share my blog please, I need more readers. Thank you