Thursday, January 30, 2014

Homebrew Taxidery Tip

Here is simple DIY for cleaning up those old sun-bleached antlers that you may have laying around your place.

Remember: local laws can get very particular about the possession of wildlife remains. In most cases antler "sheds" are fair game for possession, but sheds with skull attached can get into a whole other area... Check your local state's laws to be sure before you ever disturb any remains you find in the wild.

If you have sun-bleached old antlers around and want to liven them up a bit, wood stain should do the trick.
I bought a couple of the smaller containers of stain at Lowes.
One was a very light stain (Natural), and the other was a darker color I liked (Provincial) to compliment for the darker areas.

The other things you will need for this project are:
- Old rag or foam brush to apply the stains with
- Surface to work on that will not stain (I just used a cardboard box)
- Old rag for drying

Apply the lighter stain lightly to the entire antler area - be CAREFUL to not get any onto the skull!
With stains, you can always apply more to make it darker; but can not ever make it lighter again.
So, let it sit a minute after your first application, and then add another coat if you think it needs it.

Once you have the "base" color finished, you will add a dab or two to the base areas of the antlers to darken those areas.

I applied a dab, then would wipe it off with a dry rag, then repeated this step several times until I got the desired effect.

SLC Contributing Writer

SLC-360© 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Car Kit

As I sit here looking at the 5 plus inches of snow out the window, I wanted to share the winter car prep and kit ideas.
As we discussed in the previous blog, first you need to have the basics covered. Then build from there, so for the sake of this blog we are assuming you have already read the basic one.  While the winter kit will help you in emergencies, winter preparations for your car will help prevent you from possible car damage.

Car service, have your car winterized. Get a tune up, fluids checked, making sure you use cold weather additives. Making sure your anti-freeze is good to well below your areas temperature normals. In my area we use -40 degrees fahrenheit. It has been colder with wind chill but only a few times that I can remember. I also recomend de-icer washer fluid. I also suggest gas treatment to make sure your injectors are clean, your octane is boosted and moisture is removed. Tires: have good tread on your tires and be sure to check your tire pressure. Years ago I can remember people changing the type of tire depending on the season, but making sure your not running on low treads or no treads is a must even if you don't switch to snow ones for the season.

So now we have the car taken care of lets look more into a winter kit. I have seen kits that range from a  few items that will just make you more comfortable to full on survival kits. The thing here is to determine what is right for the area you're going to be in. If you mainly travel in the city the odds of you being stranded over night or many nights awaiting rescue are more remote than say someone who travels coast to coast or long rural routes.

Barring a wreck or other accident that damages your car it provides a decent barrier between you and the elements. If your car still runs, that’s even better because you have heat. While a lot  has been written about running your car and carbon monoxide poisoning, here we are hoping you know enough to keep proper ventilation and to make sure your exhaust is not covered so the dangerous fumes move away from you. If you are unsure or think you may have an exhaust leak “Don’t run the engine”.

Staying warm. I always pack a blanket and sleeping bag in the car year round but in winter I add an extra heavy blanket. Here I would recommend wool. It stays warm even when wet, but some people won’t use it “too itchy” so in this case it’s better to have something you will use. Extra clothes: keeping a change of clothes year round is a good idea. Gloves and a sock or knit hat, scarf, extra socks,  boots. Other items I carry in the passenger area are food (nuts, jerky, granola trail mix or dried fruit) and water. Water will freeze but if you use the heavier juice  bottles (washed and cleaned) and only fill the bottle ⅔ full when it freezes it typically will not bust.  Placing in a large gallon ziplock will help if it does. I have 2 frozen solid in my car now with no leak problems.

In the trunk: Kitty litter- get a bag. The weight helps and it’s great to pour out for added traction. Small shovel, I got a three piece one that collapses down. Remember with this you want a good scoop to move snow with your more than likely not digging a trench.

This is just a basic winter list and not a full on survival kit. If you have the items and have done the car basic list, as well as this one you should be prepared for the basics. One other thing I recommend and do myself is pack a “get home bag” or bug out bag with me daily.

We will get to the bug out bag/get home bag list soon, also we will be having that class again this summer.

Stay Safe out there.

SLC-360© 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Car Emergencies

We've had some people asking “What to put in a winter car kit?” Let’s start with the basic kit first. Having a kit for winter (covered in the next blog) can be very important but if you don't have the basics that you should already have in a year-round kit, the winter kit would not be a lot of help.

The Basics:
Spare Tire: Is it inflated to the proper psi? You may think this is a silly question, but when is the last time you checked yours?  It’s a good idea to check it on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to check it with each oil change.  The idea here is you’re already at a service station of some sort, be it public or your own private garage, and if it’s low or needs air- you can get it. This also helps to remember to do it regularly. Do you have all the necessary equipment to change your tire; jack, spare, lug wrench, key (if you have locking lug nuts)? Do you know how? If not, you should learn!

Tow Strap:  While towing a vehicle with a tow strap may be against local laws, having one to use for being pulled out of a ditch, the mud or a snow drift is a good idea. Make sure you have/get a strap that is designed for the weight of your vehicle.

Road Flares or Triangles: Some sort of cautionary device to put out to give advance warning to others that you are there and notify others to slow down and be careful. I also suggest having a brightly colored vest or jacket and reflective tape to be worn while working on your auto.

Flashlight:  One for the passenger compartment as well as one in your trunk or toolbox for when you are working on the auto. Head lamps or lanterns that allow you to be “hands free” are a good idea here. Check the batteries on these as well at oil changes.

Fire Extinguisher: I always get a good size one. Here, bigger is better but get one in a size you can handle and be sure you know how to use it. Due to temperature changes, check it regularly as well.

Jumper Cables:  These are good for your own use as well as being a good samaritan and helping others who need help. Never use these if you have no idea what you're doing! Always
refer to the owner's manual before attempting jump start any auto. Today’s cars can have computer systems attached to the electrical system and a small mistake can become very costly.

Basic Tool Box. If you’re not mechanically inclined, don't attempt anything that you’re not sure of but almost anyone can tighten a hose clamp. I know everyone jokes about it but duct tape can serve many purposes. If you have loose trim flapping or a pinhole in a hose, this will work long enough to get you off the highway and sometimes to the garage. Wire or coat hangers can be used  if your exhaust pipe of muffler drops. You can wire it up to get you home. (Remember to beware of hot parts that can burn you!) While you don’t want to drive with clear plastic or a clear trash bag on your windows and may be illegal to do in some places, putting it over broken or busted out windows until the rain passes will keep you and your interior dry.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Water Storage for Winters Storms

With the recent water issues in my county after record breaking cold temperatures, I thought a good review on water storage for winter storm preparation was in order.

For those who are new to preparedness and prepping in general, let’s looks at some basics. There are several  lists that are provided from many places, from survival groups to church groups and the government. One that almost everyone agrees on is the government's basic list that can be found at While this is a basic list it is a good list.

Water storage: The basic list is for one gallon per person per day, but let’s face it a lot of us are spoiled. We let the taps run, we flush a lot, we don’t use the plugs in our sinks. We waste a lot of water. No one minds until we don’t have it. When we don’t, we can really take notice of how much we use. It can be a good learning experience to carry on after the water returns so we can conserve this valuable natural resource.

An ounce of preparation is worth a pound in an emergency. Our forefathers and pioneer spirit have been left behind in this world of modern conveniences. I remember houses with no indoor plumbing. I remember wash cloth bathes. I remember well water. Today people feel wronged if a service fails to provide us with a comfort. What about taking care of ourselves? At SLC-360 we teach you to do just that our motto is 
Putting the Power in Your Hands

On water, while the recommended amount is one gallon per person per day, let’s figure out how much you really need. A safe bet for most people is one gallon of drinking water, very few I know drink more than that (but if you do, add more). Then it’s time to consider other things like; What type of toilets do you have, how much does it take to flush one? A gallon, gallon and a half? How many people in your household and how many times a day total is the restroom used? So you’ve finished using the bathroom what about hand washing? How much do you use? How much do you need to use to get clean? Water with soap in it, can you use it more than once? Do you have pets or animals to take care of? Are you cooking? Water to cook with and water to wash your dishes?

It all adds up. Sometimes to a big number and one gallon per person is not always enough. Now I can’t tell you how much to store but the above ideas can give you some idea how to calculate for yourself how much you need. Once you’ve figured out how much to store, you need to know how and where to store it.

While most places advise to stock store bought water keep in mind the Containers. Normal milk jug style containers will fail and leak over time.I have stored some water with this in a semi controlled climate (ie basement) and average about 5 failures per year. If you're looking at long term storage I would suggest checking out other options for containers. If you don’t have room for a drum style container, I also recommend and use 2 liter soda bottles.

Follow these steps for storing water in plastic soda bottles.
Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Mix the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water. Let the water stand for 30 minutes before using.
A slight chlorine odor should be noticeable in the water, if not, add another dose of bleach and allow the water to stand another 15 minutes.
Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so you can know when you filled it. Store in cool, dark place.
Water can also be treated with water purification tablets that can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.
Water that has not been commercially bottled should be replaced every six months. (from
For short term storage, normal store bought water jugs are fine in climate controlled areas.
Using and reusing and greywater. Always use clean, treated or store bought water for drinking and cooking. Be sure to save the water that you used to wash dishes or that you bathe with. This greywater can be used to flush with and will save greatly on the amount needed. Using wet wipes or baby wipes is a good method for a (sponge bath) without using water.
In the end we are all ultimately responsible for ourselves. Any service can disappear in an emergency or with natural and man made disasters. Take care of yourselves and help your neighbors.

Being prepared  for any situation puts you ahead of the game

Put the Power in Your Hands.

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