Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mobility and Survival

Survival can be an impossible goal if we place undue burdens on our physical abilities. This is often exemplified by our attempts to carry every possible item of survival gear we own. The result is that we have created a scenario that will make the goal of survival more difficult to achieve. The old saying “Know more. Carry less.” is a good reminder that will help you avoid this problem. Mobility is directly related to your survival.

Mobility is a key factor in many survival situations. It allows you to remove yourself from dangerous and life threatening situations. It allows you to search for needed shelter, food or water. The inability to move can be the start of a process that will ultimately eliminate any chances you may have had for survival.

Our bodies are remarkable things and we often push ourselves to extreme limits even before we become engaged in a survival situation. This is a dangerous approach that should be avoided and physical limitations must be dealt with prior to finding ourselves in a survival situation.

One of the most difficult things to deal with in a survival situation is an injury. It will slow you down or completely stop you in your tracks. Your chances of survival have almost been completely eliminated. There are numerous examples of things that can be avoided to safeguard against this problem.

A prime example of this is the bug out bag. Carrying a heavy pack can lead to knee or back problems that are a creation of our own making. Military personnel have had to deal with this situation throughout history and many a battlefield was littered with abandoned gear when their survival was at stake. Make sure you cut your body some slack and carry a pack that doesn’t push the limits of your physical abilities before its necessary. While a trained soldier may be able to carry 100 pounds of equipment, it could be a deadly burden for someone without the proper physical ability and training. Know more. Carry less.

Another example of dangers to your mobility is caused by the failure to treat simple injuries. A cut on your hand or foot can cause a host of additional problems you won’t need. Take the time to handle cuts, sprains, blisters and other minor injuries as quickly as possible.

You can also adversely affect your mobility by being improperly dressed. A good pair of shoes or boots is of utmost importance. Many people have a hard time walking even a short distance in their bare feet. Imagine what the effects on your mobility would be if you found yourself with bare feet. The same goes for items such as gloves to protect your hands and a good pair of pants to protect your legs. Don’t forget to include a decent shirt and some sort of jacket appropriate for your weather conditions.

Lee Mastroianni of the Office of Naval Research summed it up very appropriately:

“The ability to move is directly related to the ability to survive.”


Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker


Friday, December 12, 2014

Dreaming of a Green Holiday Season

It pays to be prepared for Christmas. Most people have a certain set of rituals for the holidays. This usually includes buying and wrapping gifts, decorating and buying a Christmas tree. These are time honored traditions, and they’re fun, but they can also be hard on the environment. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to celebrate a “Green Christmas” — one that is both environmentally friendly and joyful. Let’s look at some of the best ways to prepare for a green holiday season.

Send Emails Rather Than Paper Cards
While Christmas cards are a tradition, they also waste quite a bit of paper between the card and envelope. Emails are not only more environmentally friendly, they save you postage. You can get creative in your emails and include nice holiday themed graphics or links to e-cards.

Gift Wrap Using Recycled Paper
You can either buy recycled gift wrapping paper or repurpose paper you already have. You can make your gift wrapping even greener by also using recycled bows, ribbons and other decorative items. Another option is to wrap gifts in decorative gift bags that can be reused.

Use a Live Christmas Tree
It may come as a surprise to some, but live Christmas trees are better for the environment than plastic ones. Plastic consumes many resources and creates quite a bit of waste and pollution. The most sustainable type of tree is a live one in a pot. You can either keep the tree in its pot or replant it after the Christmas season.

Use LED Lights on the Tree
When lighting up your Christmas tree, use LED lights, which are far more energy efficient than other kinds. LED lights can last as long as 100,000 hours, which will get you through many holiday seasons! You should also remember to turn the lights off while everyone is asleep. Christmas tree lights, even LEDs, can actually hike up your monthly energy bill in December, so this might also be a good time of year to look into whether or not you can reduce your monthly energy costs by changing service providers (see this website for more details).

Give Creative Gifts
There are many alternatives to buying gifts at the mall or ordering them online. You could make gifts for people. If you are artistic you could create paintings, sculptures or collages for people. If you are handy, you could make items out of wood, metal or other materials. If you are good at sewing or needlepoint, clothing, rugs or blankets all make great gifts. Another option is to give experiences rather than physical objects. This might include yoga classes, massages, spa treatments or gift certificates for a nice restaurant.

Buy “Green” Gifts
There are now many companies that make eco-friendly gifts, whether clothing, jewelry, toys or home decor. You can also find creative and green gifts at antique shops. Most of all, try to avoid toys and gadgets that require batteries, which are an environmental hazard when discarded.

Reduce Holiday Driving
It’s easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere during the holiday season. Between shopping, holiday parties and visits, people often consume extra fuel during this time of year. Try to minimize this by doing more carpooling. If you have friends, co-workers or family members attending the same events, arrange to go together.

Buy in Bulk
It’s typical for people to stock up on food for holiday parties and meals. When you go to the store, buy as many items in bulk as you can. This includes not only food but also paper items such as paper towels and napkins. This will save you money and cut down on the packaging used.

These are just a few of the ways that you can have a “Green Christmas” this year. When you start thinking this way, you will probably come up with more ideas of your own. It’s often more fun to have environmentally friendly holidays, as you have to think creatively rather than simply do everything the same old way.

Thanks to Beth for a great guest post.

Staying above the water line!


Riverwalker

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Riverwalker's Pics - Treasure Falls


Treasure Falls in Colorado


Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY RV Project - Exterior Utilities Hook-up Light


Many times you will find yourself trying to hook up the utilities to your RV at dark thirty. Installing an exterior light on your RV will make the task a lot simpler. It doesn’t matter if you are boondocking or hooking up to a park space. You may find yourself in the dark and fumbling around with a flashlight. An exterior light will leave your hands free to make the process of getting things hooked up a lot easier.

Using a $10 light from the local tractor supply outlet and about 8 feet of two strand 12 volt wire is all you need to accomplish this RV mod. The cover for the power cord was removed and a wire was run from the 12 volt connections inside the RV.  A small hole was then made in the side of the RV for the wire after a suitable location for the light was determined. A piece of coat hanger wire was then snaked behind the siding of the RV until it came out at the side of the electrical cord cover opening. The wire was then hooked to the 12 volt electrical wire and pulled through the hole. It was then a simple process of hooking the wires to the light and mounting the base plate to the side of the RV and installing the light cover.





The light included an on/off switch and the cover was mounted with the switch in the down position. Even though the switch was water resistant, mounting it where it was on the bottom helps avoid rain hitting it directly.

It’s a quick and simple RV mod that can be done in less than an hour.

Got RV mod?

Staying above the water line!


Riverwalker

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Solar Garage Project


Pole-mounted Solar Panels

The conversion of my garage to solar power is completed and hopefully it will lower my utility bill. It took a while to get everything set up and working. My panels were pole mounted in order to make it easier to service the solar panels.


A total of four 100 watt solar panels were used to charge a battery bank of four 100 amp hour batteries. Two inverters were used to furnish power. A 100 watt pure sine wave inverter was used for lights and to power a small air compressor. An 1800 watt pure sine wave inverter was set up to furnish power for my power saws. This covers the majority of my power usage in the garage. I’ll also being running a fairly low wattage heat lamp for the chickens in the winter.



A solar panel kit from Grape Solar was used for this project and came with most of the necessary wiring, a charge controller and an inverter. There is additional information posted in my product review. A separate grounding rod was installed on the panels and the solar disconnect that was installed.

My grid-powered outlets are still functional and can be used if my solar power system goes down for some reason but won’t be used unless absolutely necessary. With the completion of this project, my storage shed, greenhouse and garage are now on solar power.

Part Two will show my battery bank, solar disconnect and charge controller set-up.

Got solar-powered garage?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hiking to Piedra Falls


Piedra Falls

Piedra Falls is located about 30 miles north of Pagasoa Springs, Colorado in the San Juan National Forest. It's a leisurely hike of about 3/4 mile to get to the falls and makes a very pleasant day hike through the forest and along the middle fork of the Piedra River.


Trailhead



Start of the trail in the San Juan National Forest.



Further along the trail it gets a little rocky.




Back into the woods again.



A little shade along the way.



Trail gets rocky again.



Trail runs along the side of the Piedra River as you get closer to the falls.



There's a narrow spot between the rocks as you approach the basin of the falls.



The basin of the falls at the end of the trail.

Got day hike?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker



Riverwalker's Wildlife Pics - Chipmunks and Ground Squirrel


Chipmunks and Ground Squirrel

Here's a pic of a couple of chipmunks and a ground squirrel. It was brought to my attention that I had erroneously labeled a ground squirrel as a chipmunk in my previous post. As you can see in the above picture there is a noticeable difference in size and markings.

Got wildlife?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker
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