I've been studying up on medicinal herbs and such. I learned that a handful of douglas fir needles has the equivalent in vitamin C to 7 navel oranges! We have a few doug firs outside the house. I have been stripping the needles, putting them in water fresh of the boiler, and letting them sit for a few hours (even overnight). The result is great tasting, vitamin C packed water.
Pine trees like white pine and shore pine also have loads of vitamin C.
I just moved to Western Washington from California a few months ago, and haven't gotten a cold yet (knock on fir-wood)
"Ford said both fresh and dry pine needles contain fatty compounds that cause arteries and blood vessels to constrict."
I like my blood vessels the eay they are thank you!
I wonder if the evergreen tea drunk that resulted in baby death was a decoction?
Regardless, I will keep that info. in mind, and only drink it occasionally.
This stuff takes practice. I try to start a fire by friction at least twice a week. In the Pacific Northwest, it is wet out. Very wet. It gets pretty technical starting fires out here. Tough, but it can be done.
That is just fire! Making stone tools, building shelter. Knowing wild plants and their uses is huge. Eating insects a few times a week helps too.
Education is not common sense. Education is a tool, not an end in itself. Some people learn that hitting themselves in the head with a hammer is not a good idea, but some don't.
Education is the tool. If you learn the skills and practice them, I think your chances of surviving in the woods are greater than someone who goes to the mall twice a month to get their nails done.
There is something to be said for knowledge, though. If you know your wild plants you will have an upperhand in a survival situation.
What are some other plants packed with vitamin C?
But as the article says, some vitamin content is determined by variety, as in kiwi and guava.
Most people have to hit themselves to learn, because telling some people is wasted effort. Consider the number of people who have left babies alone in bathtubs, driven while drunk, left small children alone in hot cars, etc. They're in the news on a regular basis, but people are still leaving babies alone in bathtubs, in hot cars, and still driving while drunk. When the light bulb FINALLY goes on, they tend to become crusaders for that particular cause, which is basically a waste of effort, because the people who are likely to do the same thing are just like them before they drowned their baby.
Can common sense be learned? That is one fascinating question, isn't it?!!! Someone said that common sense was the rarest commodity in the world, which is probably true. it might be a combination of genetics and upbringing (environment). Or not. If your parents have horse sense, and as they're raising you, elaborate on their thinking and conclusions, you may pick up the thought pattern.
But today in this country, people want to be protected from everything, and they want their children to be protected from everything. The total lack of experience that results tends to have nightmarish aftereffects.
How many times have you seen a rigidly-controlled child, protected from making mistakes, living in a protected environment, finally turn 18 and go hogwild crazy? And the parents don't know what went wrong.
One of my sisters had a boy, and she never wanted him to climb a tree, sleep in a tent in the back field (fenced), stay overnight at his friends' houses (supervised), handle a knife, saw or hatchet, start a fire, or make a decision on his own. When she grudgingly allowed him to join Little League (dad's insistence), her final words as he went up to bat were, "Now, don't get hit!" And he kept shying away from the oncoming balls.
If parents think this sort of outlook is a good upbringing, they're totally, irrevocably insane.
steve you might be surprised how much better that mall goer would do than some survivalists. does your course talk about the way the the brain is thought to work? one sides job takes in new info and processes it. the other tries to take that info and make it fit the known reality (what we already feel we know) that part is dangerous. essential in most situations but dangerous in others. a survivalist may wander to exhaustion because they are sure that they can read the map they simply need to find a point of reference or they are sure they already know where they are at....that trail just probably isn't there anymore, its an old map... the part of the brain that simply takes in the information and sees it for what it is is being overridden by the "but I know" part. they were trained to know after all. that might lead further, to them slogging through a creek and getting wet, refusing to gather firewood or find shelter till it is dark etc... the information like what to eat and such is important and essential but it is useless if someone doesn't stop to realize that "I'm lost, forget finding my way out. I need to eat" survival is as much about info as it is about psychology. that mall goer may not have any notion that they can find their way out and get right down to the business of surviving.
Susan Monroe wrote:
"o they learn by hitting themselves or are they told that? Can common sense be learned, or is it in our genes? Common sense DNA? "Most people have to hit themselves to learn, because telling some people is wasted effort. Can common sense be learned? That is one fascinating question, isn't it?!!!
To some extent, it must depend on the person. My father used to say to me, "Are you going to listen to me or do you have to learn it the HARD way?" He would refer to that sort of learning as the "College of Hard Knocks" (i.e. getting hit to figure out it hurts, etc.), said he'd graduated from that "college". I listened to him sometimes, but still made my own mistakes. Guess it was some of both.
Over the years, many people have told me I have good common sense. How did I get it? Maybe some gene was passed down, but I think it's in part to how I was raised. Being in Scouts gave me common sense about many things. I was lucky, our troop leaders had a lot of common sense. Unforunately, I doubt that the Girl Scouts of today is much like what I experienced in the late 60's & early 70's. Lawyers & lawsuits have changed a lot!
Early on, I also learned some UN-common sense from those who raised me, simply by seeing their reactions to things. i.e. Most of my childhood & even into my early 20's, I was fearful of spiders. Not quite as irrational as my older sister, who'd scream at the top of her lungs whenever she saw a spider & of course someone would kill it. My dad wasn't real keen about them either, but at least he didn't scream like a girl. I'm now convinced most of my spider fear was created by them, thru the spider "education" they gave me.
Flash forward to 1987 & life with my husband, the spider rescuer. The only spiders he'll kill are Black Widow or Brown Recluse. All others would get scooped up & put outside. This amazed & educated me!
I was really in for some learning when we "inherited" a Red-Kneed Tarantula. My husband's sister died & we took in her tarantula. That spider lived with us for more than a decade. She was close to 30 when she died. We still have her, preserved in plastic. My education came full circle when she died as I was the one who decided she should be preserved (husband was at work) & I gingerly put her on a balled up piece of paper & spread her legs around it so they wouldn't curl up underneath her, as all dead spiders do when they aren't squashed to death. That was a challenge, as I wasn't 100% sure she was really dead.
I'm grateful for my spider re-education. Especially while gardening, working in my garage, etc.
My spider i.d. skills are really good & I don't freak out when I see Wolf spiders or those black & white jumping spiders that everybody (uneducated) mistakes for black widow spiders. I can remember working at a riding stable & hearing some girl screeching about the spider on the metal gate. Of course it was a jumping spider & I chased it away so it wouldn't be killed.
Later that day, a horse had stepped on a mouse & the mouse was hurt, but not dead. Because it was a "cute little mouse" the same girl who screeched about the spider couldn't understand why I didn't "save" the mouse, but wouldn't kill the spider. She thought I was weird. I explained to her why the barn didn't need any more mice, but spiders help control the fly population. She said nobody had ever explained it that way before. Let's face it, there are many more cute cartoons and stories about mice than there are about spiders! Certainly lots of irrational fear of both critters though!
I've experienced 3 different girlfriends raising their daughters. On the basis of this, I'm convinced that early education, good communication skills (doesn't matter what you're telling a kid if they're tuning you out) have a lot to do with common sense development, and of course we all have to learn from our mistakes at some point. One of my friends would have a fit about bugs in general, didn't matter what kind they were & of course her children perceived all bugs the same way.
Another friend is pretty down-to-earth in her perception of darn near everything & her child is developing really good skills at a young age. She can usually be reasoned with, talked out of her fear & into trying new things that she initially thought were scary. Her daughter is experiencing important life lessons at an early age, compared to other children I've known, and she is an amazing kid!
I think explaining why some people have common sense is easier than figuring out why some people never seem to get it; no matter how many times they are exposed to the opportunity to do so. These days, I am around some 20-somethings who are like that. No matter how many times they perform their job, they seem unable to use their common sense. Maybe they don't have any?? I do think it has something to do with being protected all their lives & having everything handed to them.
If you always treat someone like a "hot house orchid" they will have a harder time adapting to less than perfect growing conditions. Some may eventually adapt...but some never will. That's my theory anyways!
In Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales, he points out that more people have survived bad situations due to their mindset than those who had all the gear. The woman who has her hair and nails done at the mall every week could have a better mindset than the guy who has some useful gear with him, but who thinks he knows it all.
How many times do we read in the paper (or online) how these 'experienced' hikers keep getting lost and dead? And do you know what the major reason seems to be? It's because they don't stop once they realize they're lost. They keep going, thinking/hoping they'll see something that looks familiar. The smart ones either stay put, or backtrack to the point where they know where they are. That's the basic reasoning behind the Hug A Tree program, teaching kids that if they're lost, STOP! Stop moving and increasing the search area.
Another reason people get into trouble is that they have a particular scenario in their head, a plan. But when the circumstances change (rain, fog, snow, wet clothes, losing fire-making equipment, etc), they don't mentally stop and reassess the problems and formulate a new plan to fit the new conditions, they try to force the new conditions to fit the old plan, and that almost never works. And it can kill you.
Here's a major stupid story from OR, from almost 30 years ago. Three or four guys went hunting in the Cascades. One guy got lost. He had his rifle with him, so he fired the usual (worldwide) distress signal of three shots. BUT THEN HE KEPT MOVING. His buddies followed the sound of the shots, but when they got into the vicinity, he was gone. And this same scenario played out all day. It didn't stop until the lost moron sprained or broke his ankle and was forced to stop moving. Then his friends managed to find him.
An inability to think things through (due to lack of practice) is probably the number one reason for failure. You see it in business and politics every day. This is a country of knee-jerk reactions, not solid thinking.
I remember Gonzalez talking about "lost." When we fail to recognize a place we have visited in the past, or can't find the place we are on a map, we say "I am lost." It is a state of being. Not a place. If it were a place, we would say "I am in lost" like "I am in Seattle." I think the mall goer comes to this conclusion before the survivalist. I think it is important to recognize the difference between "experienced hiker" and "survivalist." When the mall goer is "lost" and "all alone" in the woods, the survivalist has plenty of friends like Douglas, Cedar, Sitka, Cooley, and even the Devil (Devils club :wink to keep him or her company.
"I am here" is the way to think when in a survival situation.
We learned about staying put. That was the first day of class. Survival protocol. We also learned that our brain tells us "get food." Remember the rule of 3's. Humans can survive, on average, 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without proper temperature regulation, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.
I think there is something to be said about food, however. When I am backpacking, there is something very psychologically satisfying about a hot... warm meal on the trail.
Absolutely! And combined with fear of the unknown, having food is a real plus. That's why I like to see hikers carrying some granola bars, beef jerky, etc, with them. KNOWING they have some food frees them from that particular fear. Carrying enough water with you can steady you, knowing that you have it, and that gives you time before you really need to find another source of it.
The average hiker travels with very minimal supplies, if any. Then, when he does realize he's lost, he has to emotionally deal with the fear of no water and the fear of no food along with the fear of being lost, maybe with night coming on, weather closing in.
I think a hiker who carries some food and water is several steps ahead of the others, even if he isn't very experienced. He can sit down on a rock or a log and assess his situation: I'm lost and it will be dusk soon. I need to find shelter because it looks like rain, and I know that most people who die of hypothermia die in temperatures between 32 F and 50F. But I've already got some food and water, so I don't have to worry about that.
Not having to worry about a few things can be a big boost, and can help you to focus on what REALLY needs to be done, in the order they need to be done. Depending on the local situation, what needs to be done usually is in this order, with some slight variations:
* Administer first aid if necessary
* Find or make shelter
* Make a fire
* Find water
* Signaling for help
If every hiker was wearing appropriate clothes for the season and location, and carried, at the bare minimum, two mylar emergency blankets, a Bic-type lighter and some tinder, some water and granola bars and jerky, they would be far ahead of the average hiker who is wearing shorts, a tank top, no hat, and carrying nothing but a light heart.
And I'm not even talking about much wilderness knowledge, either. That would be a big plus.
Take responsibility for yourself. That's the bottom line. And that's what you're doing by taking that class. Good for you!
Needles were mixed with cedar to make a tea for colds. Boil fir needles alone for a general tonic tea (probably the vit c benies). Bark boiled as an antiseptic. Bark of young roots boiled as tea for colds and a baby wash. Bud tips chewed for sore thraot or mouth sores.
If DOUG FIR needles caused miscarriage this book would note that. I'll go ahead and trust 10, 000 years of experimentation ;0)
THe book also says the Cowlitz set cones next to the fire and said a prayer for sunshine. I will go try
that right now!
Didn't want the OP's tidbit for the Ish River country to get lost in the people are dumb tangent, ha! :0) good for you Steve to internalize your new magic land!