10 Essentials then and now | Survival

Travel Skills For Active Travel

THE 10 ESSENTIALS THEN AND NOW | SURVIVAL Ever heard of the Ten Essentials? The original list of Ten Essentials was drawn up in the 1930’s to aid mountain climbers and outdoorsmen. A Seattle-based group called the Mountaineers designed the list for two reasons. First, it gave people a list of gear to acquire in case of emergency or accident. Second, it provided resources in the event someone was forced to spend an unexpected night–or longer–in the wilderness. n 2003, the Mountaineers updated the list by focusing on systems rather than ten specific items. Does this list work for hunters, anglers, survivalists, and other outdoors lovers? See for yourself. The Classic Ten Essentials Map Compass Sunglasses and sunscreen Extra clothing Flashlight First-aid supplies Fire starter Matches Knife Extra food The Updated Ten Essential Systems Navigation (map and compass) Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen) Insulation (extra clothing) Illumination (headlamp/flashlight) First-aid supplies Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles) Repair kit and tools Nutrition (extra food) Hydration (extra water) Emergency shelter Side By Side The original list includes some great choices, which could help anyone survive an unforeseen situation. Matches, knife, and food qualify as “can’t miss” survival selections. And while the woodland hunter or hiker may not need the sunglasses and sunscreen, they’re important to mountaineers who must battle through snow and ice. Jumping forward eighty years: the updated list is conveniently compartmentalized, but it also reflects two game changers. Hydration and emergency shelter are the two most critical elements of survival (barring any first-aid items necessary for unanticipated injuries). Water and shelter are glaringly absent in the original Ten Essentials, and the new list thankfully spells this out for a new generation of outdoor adventurers. My takeaway from this comparison is that the new list is unquestionably superior to its predecessor because it provides a great framework for any outdoor enthusiast to assemble the necessary lifesaving gear. That said, the old list is better than no list at all. Some Extras? You bet your pack should contain a few additions. Neither list includes an item for audible signaling. Though the flashlight could signal your position at night, a whistle will work day or night to help attract attention and possibly rescue. Similarly, a signal mirror can also help to signal your distress. But the best signal of all is some form of communication device. Two-way radios, a charged cell phone, or a satellite phone should allow you to call for help more effectively than any rudimentary tool. Add some water-purification items and cordage, and you’ll have a fairly complete survival kit based on the Ten Essentials.  

Need Help Planning Your Italy Vacation

Italy is one of the most diverse places in the world to visit but there is more to the country then Venice, Florence, Roma, Cinque Terre and a couple of other top attractions.  If you plan you days well and understand how to move around within the country you can a great cost effective vacation full of activity, history, culture, and great food and wine.  Contact us to get the insights to travel in Italy.  We offer: Travel Consultant- book time online for a web chat to answer your questions about traveling in Italy. Travel Planning - need help outlining and planning your adventure in Italy. Scheduled Tours - each month we lead a scheduled tour for those looking to join a small group to explore. Travel support:  Bike Touring - routes, bike rental, bag transfers.  Walking/Hiking Tours - routes, bag transfers. Booking assistance and suggested contacts.

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Fire Starting in Wet Weather | Survival


You’ll never need a fire like you’ll need it when conditions are wet and cold. The intense energy released by burning wood seems to be the only thing that can cut through the bone-chilling cold of raw, rainy weather. And even if you already light campfires like a pro, study these 10 tricks for wet-weather fire making. You might just surprise yourself how much better at it you can be.

Stick with the sticky stuff
: Pines, firs, spruce, and most other needle bearing trees are my first stop in wet weather because their wood has sticky sap. This is pitch, which is usually very flammable. Select dead twigs underneath the protective canopy of these trees.

Peel it all off: 
Bark is typically a protective structure to save wood from a fire. Most barks aren’t that flammable on their own. Tear, carve or peel the wet bark off your sticks and kindling. There’s often dry wood just below the surface—especially if you got your wood from standing dead vegetation.

Split wood burns better that whole sticks
: Just like peeling the bark off, cutting or splitting your hardwood kindling in half lengthwise will expose the drier inner wood. The lower mass of these “half” sticks will cause them to light faster than when whole.  

Shape it up
: Lots of fire making attempts are doomed from the beginning because the fire lay shape is too flat. Build a foot-tall cone of small twigs, and stay away from low-lying kindling configurations. A tall tipi allows heat to rise efficiently through the sticks, drying them out and starting them aflame.

Use a fire helper in cold or wet weather
: Fire starter cubes, fire packets, fire paste, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or even some drier lint from home could be a lifesaver when the weather turns wet or cold (or both).

Light the fire from the windward side
: This lets the flames travel through your sticks, engulfing them faster and better.

Light the fire low
: Fire climbs as heat rises, so make sure you have your match or lighter touching the material at the base of the fire lay. Don’t waste your time trying to light it at the top as if it were a candle.

Use a ton of tinder
: Tinder is the dry, dead, fluffy plant stuff that lights on fire easiest. The center of your fire lay should be loaded with tinder.

Keep a backup handy
: A backup wad of tinder can save a failing fire, or be saved for future use.

Skip the pit
: Fire pits tend to fill with water in very wet conditions, so build a slight mound instead. This keeps your fire base out of the wetness and keeps your fire burning bright.

Food Age | Baking Ingredients | Survival


Baking ingredients such as flour, eggs, and butter may get ‘old’ after awhile if they’re not used readily. The question is, how old is too old?

Old Flour

First of all, when flour is mixed with water, gluten is formed (from proteins). The more it’s mixed (flour and water) the more gluten is formed. This is what gives dough and batter their texture and structure. During baking, moisture in the dough begins to change the starch from the flour, causing it to swell and soften. This is important for the texture and structure of the finished product.

What happens as flour ages?
Starch changes very little as flour sits. However, when the proteins that form gluten are exposed to air, they can change significantly. These changes limit the amount of gluten that can be formed.

Can it still be used?
Yes – but it is best to use flour more than 1 year old in products that don’t need a lot of gluten, like cakes and crumbly cookies. Use new flour for bread and chewy cookies…

How should it be stored?
Keep flour in a tightly sealed container, away from heat and moisture. Whole wheat flour can be stored in the freezer in air-tight bags to prevent it from becoming rancid.

Old Eggs

The protein in eggs (especially the whites) gives structure to many baked goods. Eggs also contribute moisture, and they are the only source of water in many cookie recipes.

What happens as they age?
Egg shells appear solid, but they are actually very porous. As eggs sit in the refrigerator moisture is lost through the pores. This is why old eggs (about 6 weeks) will float in water.

Can they still be used?
Yes – as long as the egg has been refrigerated, it is safe to use. According to Foodsafety.gov, raw eggs in the shell can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 weeks. With that said, eggs are unlikely to ‘go bad’ in a refrigerator, but will dry up over time.

How should they be stored? 
Keep eggs refrigerated until you are ready to use them.

Old Butter, Shortening, Oils

Butter gives flavor to many baked goods, but shortening often gives a better texture. Fats and oils “tenderize” baked products by limiting the amount of gluten that can form.

What happens as it ages?
 Fats and oils turn rancid when they are exposed to air. Oxygen reacts with fatty acids, creating off flavors and aromas. Oils, which contain more mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, become rancid more quickly than fats that are solid at room temperature.

Can it still be used?
 Yes, but if it smells bad, chances are your baked product will taste bad.

How should it be stored? 
Butter, shortening, and oils do not need to be refrigerated or frozen, but they will last much longer if they are. The chemical reaction that leads to rancidity happens more slowly at lower temperatures. The cream that’s used to make your standard market variety butter is almost always pasteurized, and it takes quite some time for pasteurized dairy products to go bad.

We have been using this Butter Crock (the ‘sea spray’ color  ) for our room temperature butter. It’s the perfect way to keep soft butter at the ready!

How to Harvest and Dry Herbs


For discerning cooks, packaged herbs from the grocery store don’t always cut it. Judging from their flavor and aroma, it seems they were picked by greasy, diesel-powered machine harvesters in some third-world country about 10 years ago. (This might be a slight exaggeration. Just slight.)

But this is exactly why you grow fresh herbs outside your kitchen door. The quality is incomparable. Preserving that quality for the upcoming dormant season is easy—find just a half-hour one morning before the first frost to stock your herb rack for the winter.


When to Pick Herbs

The flavor and aroma of herbs comes from the essential oils contained in the leaves, which varies depending on the time of day and the stage of the plant’s life cycle. The best-quality dried herbs are picked when the essential oil content is at its peak, which is when the plant is producing only leaves, not flowers or seeds.

You’ve probably harvested your herbs repeatedly throughout the summer, in which case you’ve noticed that they send out new shoots each time they’re cut. If left uncut long enough, they start to flower and set seed, so try to time the harvest for when there is plenty of lush green growth but when flowers haven’t yet formed. It’s best to do this in early fall; as the days get shorter, most herbs enter the flowering stage more quickly in an effort to set seed before the end of growing season.

The heat of the sun causes essential oils to vaporize and fill with air with their aroma. For this reason, it’s best to harvest herbs in the morning while the leaves are still saturated with flavor. Not too early, however, because they won’t dry as easily when they’re covered with dew. Aim for the brief window when the sun has just hit them and the dew has dissipated.

How to Pick Herbs

Use scissors to clip off the stems, cutting only the fresh new top growth, not the older leaves lower down. To avoid depleting the plant, harvest no more than one-third of the growth at any given time. Most culinary herbs are perennials, but with annual herbs (like basil, cilantro, and dill), it’s fine to harvest all of the fresh healthy leaf material in the fall since the plants will die with the first frost.

How to Dry Herbs

The classic way to dry herbs is to hang them from the ceiling of your kitchen. This fills the house with wonderful fragrances, creating a warm and soothing harvest ambiance for the harvest season. Simply bundle five to 10 herb stalks with a piece of twine, and hang them up upside down. You may want to run twine from the one side of the ceiling to the other and tie each bundle to it. You can put the herb bundles in any room that’s warm and dry. Sunlight degrades herb quality, so bundle the herbs inside paper bags if they will receive direct sun exposure while drying. Poke holes in the paper bags to aid with air circulation.

Best quality herbs are those that dry slowly. However, there is a fine line between drying slowly and becoming moldy. Herbs with high water content (such as basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, and mint) may dry too slowly if they are bundled and hung, rotting before they are fully dry. As an alternative, spread them out flat on a window screen that is suspended off the ground so that air can circulate beneath it. Put this in a dry, shady place with good air circulation. Leaving a fan on low in the room will speed the process and help prevent mold.

If your herbs are getting moldy because the humidity level in your home is too high—or if you’re in hurry— you can dry herbs quickly in a food dehydrator, or even in the oven. If using an oven, spread the herbs out on cookie sheets and set it to the lowest possible temperature. The flavor is degraded if the temperature goes above 100 degrees, so you may have to keep the door of the oven open to create the right environment.

How to Store Dry Herbs

Herbs are ready to store as soon as they become crisp and crumbly to the touch. It’s best not to over dry them, so check regularly to see when they are ready for storage. Bundled herbs take several weeks to dry, while herbs laid out on drying screens may be ready in a week or less. The oven method produces dry herbs in as little as two or three hours.

Always store dried herbs in glass containers in a cool, dark place. If pantry space is an issue, remove the leaves from the stalks and crumble them before storing. However, the ideal method—preferred by the most discriminating cooks—is to leave them on the stalk and crumble them the moment they’re added to a meal.

How to Make a Medicinal Tincture


Harvesting herbs for tea is the simplest way to make use of medicinal plants, but for more potent medicine, botanical extracts (commonly referred to as tinctures) are a better choice. Besides the herbs, you need little more than a Mason jar, dropper bottles, and some high-proof liquor (we recommend 100-proof vodka).

Infusing plants in boiling water can extract some of the medicinal compounds, but to get all the good stuff, you need a more powerful solvent: namely, alcohol. Alcohol also preserves the medicinal compounds for 5 years or more. Before you start thinking that you’re going to feel better after taking tinctures just because of the alcohol content, rather than the medicinal action of the herbs, realize that the typical tincture dosage is equivalent to roughly one-hundredth of a shot of booze. Nobody gets drunk from using tinctures, but they are a time-tested way to keep the cold and flu bugs away, and are effective in treating a variety of other ailments. A one-ounce tincture costs anywhere from $10 to $20 or more in a store, but you can make a lifetime supply of your own with a few dollar’s worth of alcohol.

Note: Some herbs can cause adverse reactions, especially in larger doses. Never use herbs that you are unfamiliar with without first consulting a qualified herbalist or medical professional. Children, pregnant and nursing women, and individuals taking prescription medication should consult with a health professional before taking any herbal product.

tincture erbs

What to Tincture (And What Not To)

Next time you’re in a natural foods store or other establishment with a large selection of tinctures, take a look at the names on the shelf—you may be shocked at how many come from plants that you can find in your neighborhood. Dandelion, yellow dock, cleavers, nettles, chickweed, and plantain are but a few of the common weeds that are used in tinctures. In your garden, you may have mint, thyme, artichokes, cayenne peppers, comfrey, garlic, raspberry leaf, and rosemary, all of which are commonly, too. Common flowering plants to tincture include echinacea (also known as coneflower), yarrow, bee balm, passion flower, and red clover. Many common shrubs and trees yield medicinal compounds as well, such as gingko, white willow, vitex, hawthorn, and black walnut. If you venture into nearby natural areas, you may have access to ginseng, black cohosh, goldenseal, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, and scores of other medicinal plants.

While it’s exciting to realize how many medicinal plants there are in any backyard or park, there are a few very important things to keep in mind before you start harvesting:

Only harvest plants that you can identify with 100-percent confidence. Numerous plants commonly found in backyards, parks, and natural areas are lethal, or will cause great discomfort, if ingested in tincture form. Take a class on medicinal plant identification in your area if you are a beginner.

  • Only certain parts of each plant are suitable for medicinal use. Occasionally the entire plant may be used, but in most cases it’s either the root, the leaves, the flowers, or the bark that is recommended for use. In some cases, using the wrong part can have grave consequences. (For example, yew berries are edible, but the rest of the plant is lethally toxic, including the small seed inside the berry).
  • Never harvest plants if you have any reason to believe they could have been exposed to pesticides or herbicides (which are commonly used on public land in urban areas).
  • Never harvest plants from private property without asking permission. Harvesting from protected natural areas is often prohibited, so check with the appropriate authorities first.
  • The safest places to harvest medicinal plants are from your own backyard or natural areas.

It’s also important to note that the ornamental varieties of medicinal plants found in most nurseries may not have the same concentration of medicinal compounds as their wild relatives. Yarrow, for example, has been bred into many colorful varieties, but it’s best to avoid those and stick with the plain white yarrow for medicinal purposes. If you are unable to find the plants that you want to tincture, you can always purchase dried herbs in bulk from a natural foods store, herb shop, or online supplier.
How to Tincture

Identifying a suitable source of plant material is sometimes a little tricky, but tincturing is easy. The ratio of alcohol to herbs varies depending on whether you are using fresh herbs or dried herbs. Use 100-proof vodka for best results.

  1. Chop the plant material into chunks that are a half-inch in size or smaller. For roots and barks, it’s best to chop up the material as fine as possible. Other than roots that are caked with soil, there is no need to clean the herbs; you will only wash off the aromatic oils.
  2. Weigh the herbs. Multiply the weight of the herbs (in ounces) by two if you’re using fresh herbs, or by five if you’re using dried herbs. Add this quantity of alcohol (in fluid ounces) to a Mason jar and then add the herbs. The plant material should be completely covered by the alcohol.
  3. Screw the lids onto the jars, shake them vigorously for a few seconds, and leave them in a cool dark place for at least two weeks. Try to shake the jars once a day.
  4. Open the jars and pour the tincture through cheesecloth into another container to strain out the herbs.
  5. Fill glass dropper bottles (use the ones with dark, amber-colored glass so UV rays don’t degrade the product over time, which are often sold in herb shops) using a tiny funnel.
  6. Label the jars with the name of the herb and date.

Fifteen to 30 drops taken 3 times a day is a typical dosage rate, but it’s always best to consult with an herbal remedy reference book for advice on using specific herbs.

How to Make Cheese | Survival


how to make cheese

Like fine wine, good cheese has a reputation as something that requires expert skills and special equipment to make. While it’s true that most cheeses, especially fancy ones like camembert and gouda, have rightfully earned that reputation, professional cheesemakers don’t typically concern themselves with the one type of cheese that has been made since Neolithic times—which, not coincidentally, happens to be the easiest cheese in the world to make: farmer’s cheese.

What we call farmer’s cheese here in North America has had different names in different regions of the globe over time. Ever eat saag paneer in an Indian restaurant? You may have mistaken it for tofu, but those firm white cubes on top of the spinach were actually the pressed curds of goat milk cheese, known in India as paneer. In the African country of Benin, the same substance is called waagashi. In Latin countries, farmers call it queso fresco or queso blanco, but it’s the same stuff—enchiladas are among its many uses in Mexican cuisine. Ricotta cheese in Italy, quark in Germany, and cottage cheese in America are all variations on the same cheese. The only differences among them are moisture content and the foods they are associated with.

How to Make Farmer’s Cheese

First, you don’t have to be a farmer to make this cheese. Fresh, raw milk straight from the barn is an ideal ingredient, but almost any type of milk from the grocery store will do. Goat, sheep, cow—any variety will work, and each lends its own characteristic flavor to the final product. The only thing to avoid is ultra-pasteurized milk, as it does not curdle properly.

Most cheeses are curdled with rennet, which is typically derived from the intestines of baby cows, but farmer’s cheese relies on something that’s a little less brutal to obtain: lemons. Actually, any number of acidic substances may be used, but lemon juice and white vinegar are the most common. The cheese will absorb a hint of flavor from either, so some cheesemakers opt for citric acid, which has a more subdued flavor, as a curdling agent. Citric acid can be found in many grocery stores in the canning section or purchased online.

Here are the simple steps to making farmer’s cheese. One gallon of milk will yield approximately one pound of cheese.

  1. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed pot, using a low setting on the stove to avoid scalding the milk. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats.
  2. Turn off the stove when the temperature reaches approximately 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a cheesemaking thermometer to track the temperature (a canning thermometer is basically the same thing), or you can watch carefully for the first signs of boiling (which occurs just above 200 degrees) and then turn off the heat.
  3. Slowly add the curdling agent (lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid) and watch for the milk to curdle. Stir very gently as you add the curdling agent and white clumps (the curds) will soon form, leaving a cloudy, yellowish fluid in the pot, known as whey. Many cheese recipes call for a specific amount of curdling agent—the juice of one large lemon, a quarter cup of vinegar, or one teaspoon of citric acid per gallon of milk is typical for farmer’s cheese—but the exact amount needed varies considerably based on the unique properties of each batch of milk (especially with non-homogenized, farm-fresh milk). It’s advantageous to use the least amount of acid possible to avoid an excessively tangy flavor. As soon as the curds form, stop adding the curdling agent. Let the pot sit for about 20 minutes for a complete separation between the curds and whey.
  4. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the curds and whey through it over a sink. Whey has dozens of uses, from baking bread to giving your pets a milky treat, so place a bowl beneath the colander if you want to save it.
  5. At this point, the curds will be soft and spreadable—perfect for mixing with salt and herbs and spreading on crackers. (The herbs you harvested at the end of this summer and dried would be perfect.) Or, place the curds in a bowl with a bit of whey (do not stir or fold in) and you have cottage cheese. For a drier, firmer cheese, tie the cheesecloth with the curds inside it to a wooden spoon suspended on the edges of a large pot or pitcher to continue draining the whey.

After a couple hours, the curds will have the crumbly texture of queso fresco. If you want a really firm farmer’s cheese, like paneer, leave the cheesecloth full of curds in the colander and place them in the refrigerator overnight with a weight on top (like a large can of tomato sauce) and a bowl beneath to catch the whey as it seeps out. Because farmer’s cheese is not aged, it is best consumed when fresh. It may be stored in a refrigerator for a week to 10 days.

Myths of Bad Weather | Survival


Even with all the survival skills I’ve practiced and supplies I've gathered, I still feel out of my depth when it comes to dangerous weather. Something as ordinary as a strong local thunderstorm can pelt my vehicles and house with destructive hail, set my home aflame with lightning, and send my lawn gnomes crashing into my bird bath with strong winds. Extreme weather is the great equalizer in the realm of survival. It lays low kings and paupers alike, the prepared and unprepared as well. Will you know what to do when the weather turns against you? Take our dangerous weather quiz and find out.

Lightning can’t strike you in a car
False. We’ve all heard that a vehicle’s rubber tires will protect the occupants from lightning, as long as they’re not touching metal parts inside the vehicle, but people have died from lightning strikes to vehicles, even if they weren't touching conductive surfaces. Electrocution can occur inside any vehicle that has been struck. Lightning causes 55 to 60 deaths and 400 injuries each year in the United States. And lighting accompanies every single thunderstorm. Sure, you are safer in a vehicle than being caught out in the open, but you’ll be much safer indoors—if that’s an option.

Hailstones have actually killed people
True. Sad but true, hail has been the cause of many storm-related deaths through the years. The strangest recorded case occurred in 1360, on a day that became known as "Black Monday." A hail storm killed approximately 1,000 English soldiers and hundreds of horses that were stationed near Paris, France, during the Hundred Years' War.

These days, it’s safe to use a corded telephone or run water during a thunderstorm
False. All thunderstorms have lightning, whether you see it or not. The electrical wiring and any metal piping do offer a grounding effect to homes and businesses in the event of a lightning strike, protecting the structure—but not someone touching those items. Stay away from conductive things like wiring, corded telephones, plumbing pipes, and fixtures during a storm. Continue to avoid these items for 30 minutes after the storm, in case of lingering lightning.

Flooding is the main cause of death in thunderstorms, not lightning
True. Flooding is the chief cause of death associated with thunderstorms, accounting for more than 90 fatalities each year in the U.S. More than half of those losses occur when vehicles are driven into dangerous flood waters, especially at night when visibility is hampered. Just two feet of fast moving water can sweep away most vehicles, even SUVs and trucks.

Mudslides are typically localized, and rarely affect a large area
False. Mudslides, also known as mudflows, typically occur when unusually heavy rains or a sudden thaw loosens the soil and mud, releasing a flow of material that can bury homes, roads, vehicles and people. These events can be very small, or massive, like the 1999 Vargas, Venezuela mudflow, which changed the shape of more than 37 miles of coastline and killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people.

Smoking Meat and Fish | Survival


Smoking meat and fish can produce some remarkably flavorful results, and it can be done without much in the way of modern conveniences. Smoking can also be used in conjunction with drying to save and preserve your meats and fish, all without the need for electricity or special equipment.

There are two traditional ways to smoke fish and other foods: hot smoking and cold smoking. Either can be performed with the same meats and the same apparatus, the only difference being the amount of heat used.

Hot Smoking
This technique involves a closed box to hold in the smoke and the heat from your smoke-producing materials. The foods are cooked by this heat, and permeated with a smoky flavor. Fish prepared in this manner can last up to a week at room temperature. Red meats, white meats, or any poultry should be eaten the same day, or the next day at the latest.

Cold Smoking
Cold smoking is done at cooler temperatures, for a longer period time. The goal in this method is long-term storage, which requires more of a drying process than a cooking process. It should not get hot enough in the smoker to actually cook the meat or fish. Temperatures under 100 degrees Fahrenheit are a must; under 80 is ideal. As with hot smoking, cold smoking can be done in a box or shed. It can also be done in open air by placing the meat or fish downwind of a smoky pile of coals. Maintain the smoking and air drying for a full day. If the meat becomes almost brittle, it is done. If conditions are humid and/or still, bring it in at night and smoke it a second day.

Smoking with Wood Chips
The heat source is important in smoking, but the woods chips are the most vital part of the operation. Modern smoking setups typically involve a pan of dampened chips sitting on a hot plate (portable electric burner). More traditional methods (i.e. without electricity) were achieved with a pan of hardwood coals from a fire and wet wood chips sprinkled over the top of them.

There are a number trees whose wood imparts a nice flavor to meat. Find out which of these are locally abundant in your area and chop up some chips with an axe or machete.

Apple wood from a local orchard makes a great, sweet smoke perfect for poultry and pork.
- Hickory gives a rich, sharp flavor and makes for hot, long-burning coals.
- Maple wood chips are excellent for smoking cheeses.
- Mesquite, native to the southern US, is a coveted smoke producer with an earthy flavor.
- Ash makes a lightly flavored smoke that is great for fish and poultry.

Oak wood smoke has a heavy flavor. Red oak is good on ribs and pork, while white oak turns into more long-lasting coals.

Just make sure to avoid any toxic trees. My local bad guys in the eastern U.S. are black locust, yew, buckeye, horsechestnut, rhododendron, and mountain laurel. You’ll also want to skip bitter smoking and resinous woods like cedar, cypress, redwood, fir, pine, spruce, and other needle-bearing trees.

Things Not To Do In An Earthquake | Survival


earthquake italy

Earthquake Map of Italy

Even a small earthquake, say a 5 on the Richter scale, is strong enough to damage homes and buildings and harm or kill those inside. We’ve all heard to do things like shelter in a doorway or hide under a desk, but will these practices really save your life? Many search-and-rescue professionals say no. Here are five things not to do if the ground starts moving underneath your feet.

Don’t hide under the bed
: The small space beneath a bed will be made even smaller if the ceiling collapses on it. If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. The bed will hold up some of the debris, creating a safe void around the perimeter. Never get under it, and teach your children never to crawl under the bed in an earthquake.

Steer clear of the stairs: 
The average stairway is a deathtrap in an earthquake if the building collapses on top of you. Don’t be on the stairs, or under them, in a quake.

Skip the doorway: We’ve all been told at some point to get under a doorway in an earthquake. But what really happens in that spot? The idea behind this “shelter” spot is to take advantage of the extra studs in the wall around the doorway, but the reality is quite different. If you are standing under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward, you will still get crushed by the ceiling. And if the doorjamb falls horizontally, people have actually been cut in half by a failed and collapsed doorway. Don’t hang out under doorways!

Flee from windows
: Windows might seem like a way to escape danger, especially since you can see through it, but just imagine the damage big broken pieces of glass will inflict on the human body. Glass moves and breaks in strange patterns during earthquakes, and these broken pieces can be deadly if they fall on you—or you fall onto them.

Don’t get under a desk: 
Furniture can become a lethal deadfall trap when the weight of debris is added on top of it. Under the desk may seem like a logical hiding place from a quake, but it’s safer to crouch beside the desk. Even if it is crushed, the ceiling will still be supported by the desk somewhat. This creates a small triangular space next to the desk that could provide enough room to survive.

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