Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Red Heart Soft yarn Android Hat

I saw this pattern a while back and recently a friend asked me to make this for him. So off I went to the store to buy the yarn. It is Red Heart Soft. And this time I think Red Heart got it right. This yarn is soft. Not the softest ever, but much nicer than their Super Saver yarn.
It is a very easy yarn to work with.

It is a very fast hat to crochet and sew together.
Here it is before the arms get sewed on.
Since I started this one I have gotten a request for another. 
It's a fun project and I recommend it to anyone looking for a neat present to give an android enthusiast this winter.
The pattern was easy to understand and it is a great beginner project.

One thing that would top this off is a matching neck cowl!

Thanks to BagleyBiker and thank you for stopping by

Dee Dee

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pre-Filter Your Water

Many people send a lot of money for a good water filter for camping and emergencies. Some of those filters are really great and can filter out the smallest of particles.
I am no expert at water filtration devices. I leave that to my friend Steve Spence at
He has so much information on his site regarding eco-friendly solutions to reduce energy consumption and more.

If you have a Berkey water filter, or any other type of filter, you want it to last as long as possible. A good way to extend the life of your water filter is to pre-filter the water.

In case you haven't noticed this about me, I like to find other uses for things I have.
I have some non-electric drip coffee "makers" that I use to filter so much more than coffee.

I use the white ceramic one for filtering hot bacon grease and for filtering maple tree sap for making syrup. The center is a reusable filter that I am not impressed with and don't recommend. The paper filters are natural non-bleached and thou I like environmentally healthy things, these impart a flavor that is less than desirable. I would go with the bleached ones for making coffee or filtering water.
The dark plastic one is what I have for my survival pack.
It is very durable and light weight and I don't have to worry about it shattering.

I use this to pre-filter water before using my other water filters. If you don't have any paper filters you can either use a clean T-shirt or a clean sock in place of the paper. Even if your clothes are not clean, hopefully you will be running it through a better filter to take out the rest of the nasties. Just think hard before using a dirty sock, please. I can't guarantee THAT won't impart a less than desirable taste. And isn't the point of filtering water partly for a refreshing drink or preparing tasty food?

Okay, just get some good paper filters and leave your socks out of it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

The Firefly Emerges With A Hand Drill

Making a fire may be the most important survival skill one can possess.
I have seen people start fire with a many different techniques, the simplest being a lighter, but I wanted to test an idea I had using the hand drill from my survival pack.
So here I present to you, with pictures, the results of my test.

Here is the hand drill.

I collected tinder of milkweed silk, birch bark, dried pine needles and shredded soft wood.
The pine needles and shredded wood are in there.

Then I took a twig that was dried, strong enough and small enough to fit into the drill and used my knife to make a point on it, put it in the drill and tightened it in.
Try to find one that is fairly straight.

You can use your knife to make a slight indentation on your flat wood so that the tip of the twig doesn't dance around. Since I used a thin top piece and a thicker bottom piece of wood I stuck some tinder between the two pieces of wood before I started drilling.
Under this top thin wood strip is birch bark. Below that is milkweed silk, pine needles and some wood shavings. I had to push out the milkweed silk from near the drilling point as the silk would wrap around the  wooden stick and insulate it, keeping it from getting hot enough. I held the top piece of wood in place by placing my foot on the far end of it.
You can see how the drill heats the wood and the charred shavings around the beginning of the hole. What I didn't catch on camera is the smoke it made. The stick ended up boring a hole through the top layer and then down to the bottom layer. It did take a few times to get the kindling to finally spark, I spent about 20 minutes with this first attempt.
The birch bark really made the fire take off. It didn't give me any time to capture the smoking before igniting.
I did this test in my garage since it is a windy day and I didn't want to start fire to the neighborhood. After it started I dumped it on the bare garage floor, I sure hope my husband doesn't mind the scorch mark. Ooops! 
Here you can see the several indents on the larger board from moving the drill around. I am not sure which one actually sparked the fire. I am pretty sure that the wood shavings are what caught fire first and then the rest of the kindling made it burst. Be careful with the tip of the drill stick, it gets very hot and can burn you even if it doesn't look hot or is smoking.

An additional note on milkweed silk.
Milkweed silk will ignite almost like black powder, with a burst! Use extreme care when using it for tinder. It also has an insulation property that is said to be warmer than goose down. It was used for life jackets during WW2 as one pound can keep a 100 to 150 pound man afloat for a few hours.
Milkweed is vital to monarch butterflies, so if you are going to use some for kindling please take the seeds off the silk first and spread them where they can grow uninterrupted. I collect the seed pods before they open and release the seeds so that I can contain the seeds and plant them where I want them for the butterflies.
The stem of milkweed is a wonderful source for cordage. It makes a very strong twine when spun right.
The sappy milk is said to be a great remedy for poison ivy.

Kindling will vary on where you are. Get to know some of the native plants in your area so that you won't be drilling for nothing.

So in conclusion the hand drill; worked to start a fire, was fairly fast, was a bit of a lower arm workout, and can be used for more than just the purpose of drilling holes. I am very glad that I decided to get one for my survival pack.

If you have ever used a bow drill for starting a fire, this should be a piece of cake for you.
I hope this has been helpful to you. I find a campfire to be very cozy especially with some fish planked next to it and some camp bread slowly roast over it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee