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  • May 9, 2014

    The Times I Almost Died, Part Three-1

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    For the third and final installment of this week-long series, I have saved the worst for last. If you caught Part 1 on Monday and Part 2 on Wednesday, you saw things go from bad to worse. This final tale is sobering and hard to explain in logical terms, so I’ll just present the story as it happened and let you decide how I’m still here to write about it.

    It was a cold and drizzly morning, Nov. 2, 1999. I was working at a refinery that processed fuel-grade ethanol—essentially, a giant moonshine still. One of my duties was to measure the liquid levels in the tanks in the tank farm, which was an excavated area holding eight large tanks containing tens of thousands of gallons of flammable liquid—everything from low-proof alcoholic waste product to gasoline and 198.6-proof alcohol (nearly water-free). The chill and mist of the morning had me bundled up more than normal for November, and as I scaled the ladder on the side of a 40-foot-tall rusty metal tank, I had no idea how valuable those layers of wet clothing soon would be.

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  • May 6, 2014

    The Times I Almost Died, Part One-4

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    I can say with confidence that I am truly blessed to be alive today after some of the misadventures I’ve endured throughout my life. While I often use these blog posts to share how-to information related to the vast field of survival, this week I’ll tell you about the three times I should have died. And to add a little service to these episodes, we’ll also talk about the psychology and physiology of survival that can that either keep us alive or cost us our lives.

    My first brush with death came during my teenage years. I must have been 15 or 16, just a bald-faced lad who had only recently become interested in survival skills. My parents and I were on a trip, driving down a busy interstate in the family minivan. I remember being quite bored, until an odd sight caught my eye.

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  • May 5, 2014

    Southern Fried Survival: Make Deep Fried Dandelions And Creasy Greens -1

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    If you’ve been wondering  what to do with all the dandelions sprouting up in your yard, I have a savory solution for you. Use this abundant wild food resource in a way that actually tastes good: Enter deep fried dandelion flowers and bacon fat wintercress.

    First, let’s make the wintercress, or creasy greens, as they’re often called in the south. Collect a grocery bag of wintercress from a field or wild place that has not been sprayed with anything harmful. Make sure you positively identify the cress (Barbarea vulgaris) or similar wild mustards (Brassica rapa), which can be used, too. The plants should have four-petaled yellow flowers, the leaves should have a “mustardy” smell when bruised, and the plants should be 2 to 3 feet tall.

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  • April 29, 2014

    Survival Tip #229: Build Your Own Blowgun-3

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    Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

    Cultures around the world have used blowguns as hunting tools for thousands of years, and there is no shortage of modern fans in the sport of blowgun target shooting. This particular plan doesn’t include poison, but with these instructions, you can go after small game with your own homemade blowgun and darts.

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  • April 28, 2014

    Prepper's Anonymous: 4 Signs That You Might Be Too Prepared  -3

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    Are you hardcore about emergency preparedness, while your friends and family are less so? Have you noticed them raising their eyebrows when they come to visit and see yet another pallet of supplies in your garage? Of course, to folks who don’t prepare for emergencies at all, a 72-hour bag might seem extreme. But how do you know if your prepping is really becoming a problem? I’ll help you identify some red flags that indicate it might be time to dial back your prepping practices a bit.  

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  • April 25, 2014

    Survival Skills: ID the Morel, Spring's Best Mushroom -0

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    CC image from Flickr

    With spring gobbler season and shed hunting in full swing, you’re probably spending a lot of time in the woods looking at the ground for antlers and turkey sign. Something else you ought to be on the lookout for is a weird little pitted thing that looks like a small, lumpy, brown brain. This time of year, that organism is most likely a common morel mushroom, a popular item of spring foragers. Here’s how to properly identify this delectable fungus.

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  • April 23, 2014

    Survival Gear: 5 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Save You -1

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    Mobile communication has become so commonplace in our modern lives that we often don’t recognize it for its tremendous value in an emergency. A cell phone with at least some battery juice can be absolutely priceless in a survival situation. Here are five ways it can save your life.

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  • April 23, 2014

    Survival Tip #140: Build a Raised Bed Garden-1

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    Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

    A raised bed garden can provide you with a surprising amount of food from a very small space, and it works in a variety of climates. This type of versatile garden bed can tackle a number of common problems in gardening, as it can make for good drainage in rainy climates and warmer roots in cold climates. Here’s how you can set up a 32-square-foot (10-square-m) raised bed garden.

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  • April 21, 2014

    Survival Skills: How Get Emergency Food From Wild Eggs -2

    by

    No doubt, there were a lot of brightly colored eggs hidden in yards and town parks across the country this past weekend. Now is also about the time we start to see the eggs that are laid by wild birds. The emergency use of spring eggs for sustenance can make a big caloric impact in an otherwise lean foraging season. Just keep in mind that it’s illegal to collect most wild eggs, and this is for emergency survival situations only.

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  • April 18, 2014

    Survival Tip #221: How to Make a Bow Out of PVC-0

    by

    Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

    Whether you need to hunt for food or fend off post-apocalyptic barbarian hordes, a bow is a good, versatile weapon and tool. Building a simple wooden longbow takes a fair amount of know-how, but with these directions and a length of PVC pipe, you can improvise a bow with a draw of up to 60 pounds.

    You’ll Need:

    - 3/4-inch- (2-cm-) wide, 5-foot- (1.5-m-) long PVC pipe (schedule 40 white pipe is stiffer but prone to cracking from UV exposure or cold; schedule 80 gray pipe is softer but may weaken over time if the bow stays strung constantly).

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